Hate. Vitriol. Opposition. War.
These are the words that come to mind when I think about how the climate of our world has been these days.
I see it in politics. I see it on the news outlets. I even see it bleed over into sports. The saddest thing about this is when it infiltrates the church.
There is no place for hate for people from those that call themselves believers. Those that don’t consider themselves Christ-followers – the expectation is much lower. BUT that changes when we come to Christ.
We have to be better. We can’t live in hate. Our mission demands more. Jesus modeled better. The Word teaches us differently.
When everything is so volatile, how in the world do we navigate with love? How do we keep the mission at the forefront of our mind and attitude?
REMEMBER PEOPLE ARE NOT THE ENEMY. Paul reminded the Ephesians of this in
Ephesians 6:12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.
If you back up a verse (follow the link above) and you will see that Paul is warning us against the tactics of the Devil. That is the battle we are fighting. Satan wants to get us focusing on the horizontal and assigning hate towards others, when in reality, in his subtle ways, he is using those people and situations in front of us to keep us from seeing the truth of the matter.
REMEMBER THAT PEOPLE ARE IMAGE BEARERS OF GOD. Every single person that has ever walked the face of this earth was made in the image of God. Genesis reminds us that God made male and female in His image. (Genesis 1:27) So no matter who you are looking at – no matter who angers you – remember that they are made in the image of God. They bear His image and He desires something for each of them.
REMEMBER THAT GOD WANTS ALL TO KNOW HIM. Not everyone realizes yet the reason they were created. They don’t know Jesus personally. But God loved them so much that He sent His Son to die for them so they might have eternal life! Peter writes…
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.
REMEMBER WE ARE THE WAY THEY WILL KNOW HIM. Now this is what could be a long and involved point, but let me just say it in a couple of ways. We must show and reflect God’s love because we have been changed by His love. We know what it means to be forgiven. We know what it means to have abundant life. We know that the love of God changes everything.
So instead of trying to change people – love people. Let His love change them. Instead of hating them. Love them the way He loves them. You don’t have to agree with them. You don’t have to love how they are or even how they treat you. But remember our Jesus when He was on the cross actually praying for those who had put Him there. That is what we are striving for.
That is the love that will truly change the world. Not to mention that OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER AS BELIEVERS will help others see Jesus. So the church is no place for us to hate. There is simply no room.
Living on purpose will require us to see people the way Jesus saw people. The way God sees His creations.
So love hard. Love well.
Live on Purpose.