Wednesday, March 5, 2014

All you need is....

Last week I asked a simple question on Facebook.  "What is love?"  These are some of the responses I received:  
 "Love is simple, given freely, contagious, full of grace and open armed! Fully God and shown to each of us!" 
 "Love is meeting needs" motivates and drives us to action--to fight, to put needs of others before one's own, causing us to put aside our own desires and preferences for the sake of someone else. When I think of love I also think of how it encompasses truth, justice and " treasures, cherishes deeply, and goes to great lengths to protect.
"True love is a choice, a choice to be selfless and put the needs of others in front of your own, and we all have unique needs which creates unique love."
For the past several years people, especially the younger generations have adopted somewhat of a "hippie" attitude.  Now don't get me wrong, I have been referred to as a hippie myself recently and I'm not planning on abandoning my essential oils or juicer anytime soon.  But, I'm referring to the "all you need is love" attitude.  The idea that loving someone means you stand by their every choice and every move no matter what it may be.  Even if that means going against what you know to be true.  It's all in the name of love and that seems to make it ok.  Or not... Let's look at a few verses and see what the bible has to say.

Philippians 4:8-9 says 

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."  
 Then in Ephesians 6:10-18 when talking about putting on the armor of God 
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but againstthe rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 
In looking at these verses (among others) I believe that standing up for the truth is a very important part of being a believer, even if it means disagreeing with what others are saying.  Just because you don't agree with what someone is doing or how someone lives their life doesn't mean that you can't and don't love them.  I have seen so many people either stand up for what they believe to be wrong or not stand up for what is right in the name of love.  This truly saddens my heart.  It makes me sad because we live in a society that believes you can't disagree with someone and still love them.  It makes me sad because so many are missing the fact that we can truly share Christ's love and stand up for the truth at the same time.  In fact, many times the best way to love someone is by sharing the truth with them.  I'm not talking about getting in their face and being rude or judgmental.  The bible says in Matthew 7:1-5
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."
We must deal with our own sins and be careful not to be judgmental, but that doesn't mean that we can't or shouldn't address the sins of others.  If you take a stand for what you believe the bible says to be true, but don't reject or shun those that don't listen, that is loving them well.  That is loving how Christ loved.  Jesus spoke the truth.  He didn't sugar coat it.  He didn't change his message depending on who was listening.  He didn't worry about who he was going to offend.  He knew that people weren't going to listen or follow everything he said, but he still loved them the same.  He loves me, even though I go against what he says on a daily basis.  Even though I know what he says is true, and right, and good, I still mess up.  He loves me anyway.  This is the type of love our world needs more of.  The type of love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.   
If we look back at the responses I received to the question "what is love" I see a very common trend.  People see love as meeting other's needs and doing this freely without expecting anything in return.  They believe it's a reflection of God's love for them.  I think this fits perfectly with where my heart has been for a while now.  People need the truth.  If they don't hear it from you, someone that loves them,  how do you know they ever will.  Speak the truth in love.  That's what Jesus did.

Just a little something I have to add at the end of this.  Notice that I didn't mention any specific "truths" in this post.  That is not what this was about.  I don't what to debate certain sins. My prayer is that if you have not already you will take time to dig into the bible and see what it has to say for yourself.  Also, as a believer remember that you have the Holy Spirit inside you to help you discern right from wrong.  Allow Him to guide you through those difficult conversations.  Ask the Lord to give you a spirit of love.  A Love like what He so freely gives to us.        

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