Monday, November 02, 2009

What type of love is it?

What type of love is it?

I loved people as a legalist, yet it was always with an agenda. I thought it was “God’s” love and agenda until a few years ago when I realized that it was my own agenda. I felt that if I could “save” enough people then I would legitimize my own salvation…. Hmmm sounds like works right?

It is subtle and often a bit hard to grasp what I am talking about. It is a type of love, so you are right if you think it is love, but it is not unconditional. A fundamentalist will love you, but on THEIR terms and not without conditions. That is not true love. True love is hoping the best for even your enemies. This means even Loving them when they slap your face and expect you to fight back. True love is not expecting anything back from that person.

I love this story of a squirrel. One day the squirrel was playing in the street and a huge truck went by and the wind of the truck knocked the squirrel into the sewage grate. The squirrel struggled to get out yet, but could not. The man looked around for something to help get the squirrel out but could not find anything so stuck his arm down the sewage grate. The squirrel panicked and began to scratch and claw the man’s arm. The man was determined though to help the squirrel as he knew of a storm that was coming and would kill the squirrel so kept trying to get the squirrel out.

Now this story has two endings. One, the man gives up as his arms are bleeding too badly and his attempts to love the squirrel were not accepted by the squirrel. He leaves and cries over the lost and possibly soon to die squirrel.

In the other ending, the man does not leave the squirrel, stays with the squirrel. The man tries to save it though it dies, yet he does not want the squirrel to die alone. As the squirrel sees the water rising fast and is swept away his eye catches the man’s eyes. The squirrel begins to realize he (the squirrel) is about to drown and die, yet still does not climb out the man’s arms but knows the man was trying to help him.

Which one truly loved the squirrel?

It is that subtle… both appear to love the squirrel yet one has an agenda while the other does it for the love and hope of betterment of the squirrel.

Emotions like anger are not good or bad; it is what you do with them. Jesus was angry with the money changers and why? The sacrificial system was the equalizer of the people. It was to remind all of their sin. When some used it to profit off of others… meaning that by selling the “officially approved” sacrificial animals” it became more commerce. Instead of one sacrificing their own animal… taking time to raise it, care for it, love it and then… kill it for their own sin, one could simply buy an animal that was “perfect” and then slaughter it without a thought… there became a detachment from ones sin and the sacrifice. The sacrifice began to lose its significance to the one making the sacrifice and “profit” to those selling the sacrifice. The idea of “moneychangers” in the temple cut across the grain of the very idea of atoning sacrifice.

We have one instance of the Temple behind his anger over the money changers and that God does have hatred over things like injustice, abuse and perversion of the grace He gave through the kindness of Christ’s sacrifice for us. So how do we imitate Jesus if when he was struck, he did not retaliate or get offended… and his last dying words were, “Forgive them.”?

If we are to be angry, then we should be angry with what God is angry with, like injustice, abuse of power and position and things that place people, made in his image to be of no value. This is again a point that many seem to be missing as to what I mean and am saying. Emotions are neither good or bad, or right or wrong; it is what we do with them that makes them one or the other.

One can love Jesus, but part of loving Jesus is to accept His teachings. One of Jesus’ teachings is to love others including those that hate Jesus. That means we are called to live on and in a higher Way than the world. We live by Love and are to love others unconditionally. If they offend us (again note I am saying at times we WILL be offended) we are to forgive. Yet, one can rise above being offended when they realize that the world will be offensive and abusive toward them. Yet, the Love of God should still compel us to forgive those offenses as our offenses have already been forgiven. This is called walking in the forgiveness of Christ.


No comments: