I feel so compelled to continue my thoughts from my last post… bear with me, please. This a bit lengthier than my usual post.
LOVE IS LOVE. Can you feel it in the pic of my grandson and daughter-in-law? It’s real because it is seen and felt.
The Lord has called us to be radically different than the world—especially in our response to its rhetoric and extraordinary anger, but I’m not sure if we really know how.
In our natural instincts, it’s easy to see people as enemies. It makes sense to meet each point of their disagreement with our own point of disagreement—to fight for truth no matter what, right?
But… how many debates really lead to unity and healing?
We have all watched the fights on various social media apps and in the comment sections of various news sites. The level of righteous anger is phenomenally disheartening, and even alarming! Obviously, such encounters goes nowhere but to fuel our own quagmire of seething emotions.
I think we all know Jesus came to bring something better; but few places lead us into the solution of this world-wide collapse of emotional sanity.
As I shared Monday, Jesus met the world’s need through extravagant love. He didn’t have long protracted debates with His enemies. He didn’t really spend much time arguing with those who disagreed with His message or methods. His displayed heart was so bright that no one could deny its draw…unless, of course, you were more interested in controlling others and winning them to your side. Jesus won the crowds because the crowds knew a simple truth…He cared!
Even now, I believe Jesus would say, “Don’t be like the world. You won’t win them through head to head battles—everyone just digs-in deeper. How you live will be your weapon. It will draw whom it will draw.” Although we may have to stand for truth, the walls of discord don’t come down because of winning people to your side. Instead, our Lord would encourage us to love so well that they cannot deny what truly motivates your life. The Gospel is not a debate of bulleted points, but a revealing of the true heart of God for all humanity. Jesus didn’t seek to show Himself as more right, but wanting to see ALL people fully healed, freed, and released into their divine story.
In other words, He got in trouble for His extravagant love!
What are we interested in? Do we just want to win? Do we want to prove who’s wrong and who’s right? Do we simply want to put people in their place?
We need to go beyond these motives. Only through a heartfelt extravagant love will the world be healed. Notice I didn’t say “love will WIN the world.” Even that attitude still uses loving actions to prove something; but it’s not from a changed heart that has encountered a living God. Jesus didn’t seek to win the world through an argument, but by spreading His arms across a wooden beam. As Jesus himself said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32)
Well, one might ask then, “What about truth, then?”
Truth is truth, and we must always stand for what we believe, but… sometimes we mask our lack of love by claiming that we’re “speaking the truth in love.” The only problem with that is my experience tells me that people say that only to cover up their hidden disdain and dislike for the opposing side.
What about healing miracles…that will show the love of God, right? It’s interesting to me that we’ll go to the supernatural just as often as our testimony to prove that we’re right. Again, I’ve seen too often the supernatural used as a guise to pride and arrogance.
When the Bible says that Jesus “healed them all,” that doesn’t mean the supernatural was the ultimate sign of His love. Even Jesus didn’t use the supernatural to prove He was more right than anyone else, in fact, He would regular tell people to “tell no one” what just happened. It definitely didn’t save Him from being crucified! His healing power simply revealed the nature of who He was. He simply loved; therefore, He healed, regardless of what the tradition around Him said he could do or not do. In other words, Jesus simply used whatever was at His disposal to reveal His love.
Understand this, then, even healing wasn’t the ultimate sign of Jesus’ love. Think about it. If we are called to be like Jesus, and if supernatural healing was a sign of our own heart’s capacity to love, then most of us would be doing a very lousy job! We actually would all stand condemned already. Extravagant love simply seeks to love with everything at our disposal. If I heal, then I heal. But we don’t stop there! What happens when people are not healed? You don’t go onto your next experiment trying to prove a point; you continue walking with those right in front of you.
Even Jesus said that prophetic gifting, casting out demons, or healing would not prove our relationship with Him. (Matthew 7:21-23) And yet, why do so many focus so much energy on it. I believe it’s because we don’t want to look at what’s truly in our hearts…we’re still trying to prove something.
So, I would say, continue to speak the truth in love, heal the sick, reveal the supernatural works of Jesus, and speak boldly. Personally, I have seen the power of God’s Word melt the strongest of people. I have participated in the supernatural healings of the incurable, and I have rejoiced in the power of God’s prophetic Word within me; but these truly would be of no value if I would not seek something far greater than all of these things. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
The message of the Gospel is simple, God loves. The Bible only gives one definition of love. “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 and keeps no record of wrongs; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, ESV) These words are the real test of love…not our being right, nor our supernatural abilities, but our willingness to spread our arms out no matter who is standing in front of us.