I️ know many of us are troubled by the recent events in our country, left scratching our head, “Can love really win?” From outward appearances, we seem to be sinking in quicksand. The news is heavy and weighty. People are downcast with gloom. Many are pondering, “Hey God, it doesn’t look like love can win“.
I️ mean, seriously, it doesn’t look like love has a fighting chance. It appears as if love is in the final knockout round and down for the count. Considering the state of current affairs, the world seems full of bitterness, anger, and fear. How in the world can love possibly prevail? It appears that judgment has the upper hand.
The Feeling of Judgment
But then I️ remind myself. No one likes how judgment feels. It comes from a place of fear and condemnation. Judgment tells you lies like you are no good, you don’t belong here, you will never measure up, and you will never fit in. It pins you down to the ground and spits in your face, making excuses for prejudices and bias. When judgment is passed along, it puts people in a box and makes quick lump assessments. It builds from past pains and hurts. And as the saying goes, “Hurting people hurt people.” I suppose that applies here as well.
I mean, if we’ve been hurt to our core, it is tough to change our minds. For example, I️ know people who have been hurt by someone in the church and now they want nothing to do with the church. They assume everyone behind the doors must be bad. They believe that since they’ve been hurt badly once, it will just happen again. Funny how we do that with pain…we don’t even want to try again.
The Confines of Fear
But in the end, it makes me wonder what we are missing out on because of our prejudice and fear. What relationships are waiting to happen that we don’t even give a chance. Maybe because of the color of one’s skin or their social status or sexual preference or the side of town they reside in. Ouch, can I️ hear an Amen? We live entrenched in fear. As a result, we live protecting our selves.
We focus too much on “self”. Our self-interests, concerns, and desires. Without realizing it, we live within the confines of self-protection. But this isn’t at all how God tells us to live. He tells us “perfect love casts out fear” (1 Jn 4:18). In God’s economy, letting go of self is how we become free.
Living Like Jesus
Jesus comes to give life and give it more abundantly (Jn. 10:10). Could it be that when we die to our selves, we learn how to freely live? When we become more concerned about the welfare of others than ourselves, we are freed up to truly live. Radically live. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did?
Love is stronger than fear and judgment. Love can conquer fear, anger, betrayal, resentment, doubt, and disappointment. The book of Hosea portrays the antidote to soul cancer. God pulls the Israelites out of the trenches of self-destruction and shows that love is a stronger force. A kind of love with stick-to-it-ive-ness that never leaves or fails. This is what the world needs right now. A Jesus-loving-Gospel-believing-radical-living people that will stand up and show the world that love can prevail.
What Will It Take
Let’s begin by asking God to show us how to love. I️ believe this is one prayer where we will see a quick response. If we want to love like Jesus, we must seek Him and ask Him how.
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chron. 7:14