Love Is Our Weapon
As I spent time talking to God this morning on my commute into Capitol Hill, the mountains came into to view as the sun just began to rise. It struck me how much that view doesn’t inspire awe in me anymore – that I have allowed my unrelenting “regularness” of life to cloud my vision of God’s majesty. Did the mountains change? Apart from how they are dressed from recent weather, that view is pretty static – solid, almost comforting. So maybe it is a heart condition that tends to make me gloss over the amazing things that we see every day and instead focus on the small things that give us heartburn and fatigue.
I believe that one of the biggest threats to the effectiveness and authenticity of Christians today is complacency. We used to call it being a “Christian on Sunday” but now I believe it extends beyond that. Whether you are keeping God at the center of your life or not, the truth is that you are going to be bombarded with information no matter where you turn. And the church’s lack of positive reaction has made those of faith appear weak at best, and at worst, severely bigoted whenever someone does take action.
Advertisements, entertainment, news, opinions….it’s endless, and it is constantly in your face. I think that this is what I allow to obscure my view of the Rockies. I have allowed circumstance to dictate how I see the world, and I blame circumstances for all the things that I know are wrong. In my mind I tend to condemn before I forgive, and can effectively argue my way further from what God has called me to:
I have had this talk with several people lately – the idea of what love really is. I have argued with my logical and critical brain, coming to the conclusion that many other people have as well – Love is not a feeling, it is an action. Attraction is a feeling; love is the behavior stemming from that attraction. We are attracted to people for a wide array of reasons – physicality, intelligence, humor, conviction, or personality – all of which can lead to exciting new relationships, whether they be romantic, friendships, or teamwork. Where love comes in, things change. Through acts of love and faithfulness, we express appreciation and gratitude to the people that have helped to enrich our lives.
So how can we wield love outside of the church? I find that my go-to reaction to most things in our world today is what I perceive to be “righteous indignation” or “righteous anger,” which is not how God has called me to react. Now don’t get me wrong – there are things that we have the responsibility of opposing in this world, but applying that opposition to all the conditions of today’s circumstances is not the approach to which God calls us.
The first commandment is clear – “Love the Lord your God with all your soul, strength and mind, and love your neighbor at yourself.” It seems very cut and dry – we are called to love our neighbors – meaning everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion, and even their relative attractiveness. Love is the only foolproof weapon we have – one for which there is no defense.
Are you not a fan of our president? Show him love by praying for him and his fellow leaders every day. Do you recognize the division in our country over pretty much every controversial stance there is? Show love, not condemnation. Unfortunately, our society has been lowering the bar to such a degree that anyone who shows real love to anyone is so abnormal that folks no longer know how to react, often resorting to suspicion.
The point, or “Big Idea” if you will, is that we are to love one another always. Not just when we agree, or when we have an understanding – we are to show everyone love at all times. And how do we do that? It is spelled out pretty clearly:
4 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.” 1 Cor. 13:4-8
So next time you read something online or see something on TV that raises your blood pressure, stop and ask yourself how you can react with love rather than your knee jerk reaction. And you will notice after a while that even your knee-jerk reactions will begin to change as you continue to build up others that will lead to real, authentic love. Love really is our only weapon, but used with faith could actually change the world. Why don’t we wield this weapon enough? Maybe the only thing that will clear my obscure view of the mountains is to realize that sometimes I have to actively look for the beauty – just to realize it was there all along.