Sometimes I wonder if we as Christians make things harder than they really need to be.
We can get hung-up on stuff like what the Greek translations said versus the Hebrew, or the historical context of Biblical times or whether or not we should work on Sunday, ever get divorced, or allow a woman to preach from the pulpit.
Honestly, those discussions make my eyes glaze because while I know there always needs to be a balance of grace and truth, I know this for sure:
Grace is love. Love always wins. Which means grace always wins, too. (Kinda reminds you of Algebra I, right?)
And it really does just comes down to these: Love God above all else and love your neighbor as yourself.
Sure, there are times when we struggle with loving God above all else because shiny, pretty things come along often in our first-world culture and threaten to knock God right off His throne. Idolatry is something we’ve all struggled with at some point during our faith journey.
Yet it’s the loving our neighbor as ourselves part that can be such a challenge because we’re disabled by the flesh. Our natural inclination is to take care of ourselves first and then our neighbor if there’s time.
Our husbands, children, girlfriends, the least of these . . . they’re all our neighbors.
And while we’re told to love our neighbor as ourselves, we can’t love well if our cup is empty.
We have to love ourselves AND our neighbors.
Last week, I heard our youngest child tell his older brother that love is patient and he wasn’t being patient (note to self: teach children not to use scripture to condemn).
“Spencer, where did you hear that?” I asked.
“It’s our Bible verse at school,” he stated matter-of-factly. I glowed at the thought of those little preschoolers hearing the traits of love. Like little sponges, they consume those verses right at face value.
Loving is so easy for them because their minds haven’t yet been influenced by the stuff of this world that can make it so difficult to love well.
“Why would someone not love another person because their skin color is different?” Sarah asked one day.
“Why did they want to hurt Anne Frank?” Samuel wondered as we walked through an exhibit about her life.
And I would much rather them ask me where babies come from because that talk, well, that one I think I have down.
But trying to explain something to minds so pure and filled with love who have friends of other races and beliefs and can’t fathom why someone else wouldn’t like them because of it?
That’s hard stuff.
At the root of injustice is lack of love and while some may say just a handful of people can’t make a difference, I disagree.
The disciples were a handful of people.
So if you take nothing more from the Love Well Project, take this:
Love has more power than hate.
We CAN teach our children or anyone else around us to choose love and grace over hate and condemnation.
We are raising generations – even if the generations we’re raising aren’t our own blood.
I don’t have to be related to someone to help them see the power of love and grace and when they go and do the same, well then, we’ll love well and set-up generations to come.
And here’s a little more Algebra I for you:
If God is love and Jesus was God in the flesh, then Jesus . . . He is love.
His power is made perfect in our weakness.
He’s what makes us love well.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:8