I am very intuitive. I can usually read people really well. I can often feel their hurts, pain, and joy. It is the way The Lord designed me so that I can show compassion and love to His people.
Yesterday, I was at a restaurant having lunch and our waiter (now be patient with me; I am totally stereotyping here) seemed to be a homosexual. Throughout our conversation I dropped the “J bomb.” When the word Jesus spilled from my lips I could see enormous pain well up in his eyes.
The word Jesus means so much to me.
The name Jesus obviously meant something very different to him. Again, I am making a guess here, but the word Jesus seemed to be affiliated with:
We carried on with our meal and we were demonstrated kindness, love and we left a BIG tip. No other words were spoken about Jesus or Christianity for that matter, we just tried to SHOW this man love.
I went to bed thinking of him…and the look in his eyes. The way he froze when I said the word Jesus. The way he quickly looked to his feet with what seemed like a veil of shame covering his face. How a heaviness came over him that did not leave for the rest of our meal. Every time he came back to our table he did so timidly, not boldly, like he did before I dropped the “J bomb.”
My heart aches for him and so many like him.
Now I am not talking about homosexuals here, although I do believe many people who identify as homosexual have very similar stories regarding Christians.
I am talking about people who encounter “Christians” and experience something very different than love. I am talking about the people in this world that lump all Christians together with a negative experience or experiences that they have had with fellow believers. I am talking about people that have been hurt by those who have released judgment, criticism, and even hate instead of love, mercy and kindness.
John 13: 35 By this they will know that you are my disciple, if you have love for one another.
John 15:12 This is My commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.
The Bible is full of scriptures on love.
It is how the world will know us. It is how we will attract the lost into the Kingdom of God. Right now the American church is a mess, for the most part there is little new growth, but believers changing churches. Why?
We (the church as a whole) have veered away from the simplicity of the Gospel.
We have forgotten how to love.
What if the father in the story of the prodigal son acted more like the older brother in the story? The father, who ran out to meet his son, right where he was, to speak unconditional love and to declare his identity over him, fully restoring him as a son. It was not conditional on “if he was able to clean up his act” nor did he refuse him because of his past (or even present circumstances). What if the father in the story of the prodigal son allowed his heart to be filled with jealousy and judgment?
What if Jesus made conditions on our access to the cross?
What if God’s love was very conditional?
I am so grateful for His unconditional love in my own life. All of the many times that He has loved me when I didn’t deserve it and didn’t even really want it. I am so grateful that He is a good Father who runs out to meet us in our mess and loves us within the messiest parts of our humanness.
My heart breaks for those that have never felt the unconditional love of the Father in heaven. But how are they to meet His love? The only way anyone can ever know His love is through His people.
When we stop loving people… because… because of who they are…because what they have done… because…
When we stop loving people, we stop living out the gospel and we become that older brother in the story of the prodigal son. We become the judge. In our hearts we decide who is “worthy” of His love. That is a very scary place to be.
My prayer today and everyday is that you will be like the father in the story of the prodigal son; full of LOVE for His people, running after them, quick to remind them of who He is and how much they are loved. I pray everyday that we would rise up and reflect His perfect love to anyone and everyone we encounter.
I pray that they would know us by our love!
Challenge yourself today to answer the “Call to Love” and begin to love radically. Ask Him to expose any area of your heart that withholds love to anyone and remove anything within you that hinders love.
Rise up as the beautiful church and LOVE radically.