Hey friend, can we talk? Just you and me, sitting across from each other. Our hot steaming cups between us.
Jesus asked us to love one another. In fact, he took it a step further. He asked us to love each other the way he loved us. In a faith that talks about love in such beautiful terms, it feels important to talk about what love isn’t.
Love isn’t labeling a person/ethnicity with words or jokes that never should fall from our lips.
Love isn’t found in harsh political debates that leave out wisdom, grace, and mercy.
Love isn’t posting status updates on social media telling others that if all people struggling with poverty just worked harder like we did they’d be better off.
Love isn’t condemning refugees and immigrants trying to find their way to safety.
Love isn’t pointing to other denominations and saying we have it right and they have it all wrong.
Love isn’t condemning or judging those whose battle you don’t understand.
Love isn’t pointing out another person as unwanted because we think her sin is bigger than our own.
Sometimes when I hear these things, I cringe. I really do. They are so confusing to those watching, those whose only view of the church comes from our words.
Jesus taught about what love isn’t. In Luke 7, he shares some “don’ts.” They aren’t the ones we typically talk about — you know, don’t curse, don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal, don’t miss church, don’t be like you so you can be more like me. . . Instead Jesus is talking to a crowd and He says:
Don’t judge others and you will not be judged.
Don’t condemn others, or it will all come back against you.
Don’t fail to forgive.
Don’t hold your talents and treasure too closely, but give them away instead.
If we lived by these don’ts, we’d start to love like Jesus. We’d love those different from us. If we lived by these don’ts, we’d see all mankind as created and loved by God. If we lived by these don’ts, we’d walk in someone else’s shoes before we forced them into the mold of our own. If we lived by these don’ts, we’d measure our words as gifts and hand them out accordingly.
Loving others is an invitation. It’s also a commandment that helps us to greater experience and know God for who He is.
So, here we are. Two women or ten thousand around the table today. Just talking about what love isn’t. . . so we can open our heart for God to show us what love is, and then do it.
Thank you, Suzie, for saying something that has been on my heart for a bit. Unfortunately I have heard these types of words in my head and was able to stop them before they went further but it means they are in my heart. I continually ask God to forgive me and to heal my heart, so thank you for the reminder to continually go before my Papa God for a heart check.
Thank you so much for this. Sometimes when I hear people’s words or think back on my words, I cringe. It makes me think of this passage in James 3:10-11:
from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? James 3:10-11
Loved this. Lately, it seems we judge on political affiliations. We need to stop . Thank you for this wake up call!
Grateful for this message today sometimes it is so hard to love others and why do we all struggle
with this ? Especially when we know that God wants us to love and not judge other but actions of
certain people just seem to push my buttons and I find myself not liking their ways or their
lifestyles.I know what comes out of my mouth comes from my heart but I pray each day for God to give me a clean heart and a willing spirit after all we are all human and can be forgiven . May
we all shine our light of love and joy as we are commanded to do each day .
This hit home. And I mean literally my home. Our hearts are being revealed during this crisis, and some of what’s in there ain’t pretty. But thank God for His grace and mercy as He opens my eyes to see my people in truth and love.
Now…Lord, may that translate to my neighbors and the rest of the world in Jesus’ Name.
What a deep and beautiful phrase: “…we’d measure our words as gifts and hand them out accordingly.” Yes, this! Thank you.