This blog post is about something that I believe we all need to hear today!
We are all broken and the only way to heal is to find forgiveness, while understanding the beauty of each person’s individuality.
The core of the message is this—YOU are created in the image of God. It is from this place that healing starts and forgiveness can be found. However, I believe that until we learn this truth we will look at each person as different and therefore perceive the uniqueness as a negative.
I lived this way for many years looking at genders, race, religion and sin as dividing us. Of course that led me to believe that I was right, and everyone else was wrong, which of course meant that I was good and “they” were bad.
The problem with this line of thinking is that it causes division, hurt and eventually hatred for everyone but my little group of those that agree with me. This leads to separation, isolation, fear and eventually what we see today with factions, and little acceptance of others, resulting in distrust of most everyone.
We have become such a stereotyped nation that everyone wears a label of different, instead of recognizing the beauty God designed, because of the individuality of each person.
Today more than ever the world needs Christians to practice what Jesus Christ preached. Love your neighbor as yourself.
I have heard both sides trying to use this verse to back their agenda. The problem is that to really understand the context of this verse we must dive into many different things, and not just read it as if it was put out by Siri as an answer to a question.
There are a few things that have to be addressed before we can even understand what Jesus is saying in this statement, and then we have to look for other things that back up our understanding to reveal what Jesus was truly saying.
So here are some points that I believe are very relevant to understanding what and how to apply these Scriptures.(Matthew 22:37-40)
- This is conditional upon understanding that if God is love then I must first learn how God loves me before I can possibly understand how to love someone else. “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.”( Verse 37)
- Jesus said that loving my neighbor is equally as important. “A second (Command) is equally as important.” (Verse 39) I really can’t use part of this series of Scriptures without using the whole concept of what Jesus said. This is the basis of hypocrisy, when I choose to believe part of a teaching and deny another.
- If God is our model of love then what, why and how does He model love to us? All through history God judged people that chose to do things their own way. God judged both those that were His chosen people and those that rejected Him. God judges on actions and obedience, because it reveals how my relationship with Him is in my life. (Matthew 7:16-18)
- Jesus was way harder on the people that claimed to be representing God, but were taking care of themselves. (Matthew 23) Paul said that we are not to judge the world, those that don’t claim Jesus as their Savior, but we are to judge those that are inside the Church. (1 Corinthians 5 especially verse 12 & 13)
- We have to accept the fact that it is not loving our neighbor, when we use the Bible to whack people into shape or to prove our point. It is however loving our neighbor, when we share, because we love them, the truths of the Scripture and what God has done in our life.
- Fighting against something usually just brings more fear and division, while fighting for something can bring healing and restoration.
It has to be my intention to lovingly and gently reveal my point to people, rather than fighting about things that in the end are really not something, that if I am following God myself, I need to be concerned about.
The main concern that I have is that at this point both sides of most arguments today are wrong. Maybe not in what is true or not, but in the way they are presenting it. Two wrongs have never made a right, even if one is more true, but still presented in fear and anger.
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. (Proverbs 15:1)
This is really the core of the message that I would like to propose for today. Don’t get wrapped up in what the world is spitting out, or else we may end up just like the world.
How have you found is the best way to share hard things in a loving way with others?