I was telling a colleague yesterday how much hate has been spewed all over the place and it has been very publicized. Normalizing hate is dangerous because it goes against what God stands for and it makes something anti-God acceptable. God is love by definition and He loves everyone. There is no exception. He welcomes every single person who lives today and He loves every single person who has walked the earth and who will ever exist. That is a big range of people! He even loves the people you can’t stand. He loves the worst criminals and He loves the saints. He loves you at your best and He loves you at your worst. It might be hard to fathom but that’s how He is. Now, He is inviting us to imitate Him and be like Him. It can be challenging to show love for everyone but hate should not be an option. As believers we thrive on love or at least we should. Love should take precedence over religion because God takes precedence over religion. Too much has been done in the name of religion with love not taken into consideration. What are we doing in the name of love? What are we offering the world that reflects the Lord? What image of the Lord are we giving to the world if we do all we do outside of love? I strongly believe that it is impossible to truly know God if we don’t know love.
If you can’t find the Lord, look for Him where love is. The Lord always walks in love. A church or a movement that doesn’t stay in love cannot stay close to God. It can create a semblance of God with deeds that look good but without love it doesn’t mean much. We can have the strongest faith in the world but if it has no love attached to it, it is just hope because faith without love is not true faith. I can tell the world that I am a devout Christian but if I leave love out of what I do or say, I am a devout religious man and nothing else. There is such a thing as good religion. The book of James mentions it and good religion is based on love and caring for others. I wish I had been taught about the importance of love sooner but I have always had an idea about it. When I saw God portrayed as a punitive and angry God, there seemed to be something off, something missing. My personal relationship with God was different from what was projected into the world. To me God was really out of this world!
We need to go back to the basics when it comes to God. We need to go back to the basics when it comes to love. The world has changed so much but God has not changed. What mattered to Him when the Bible was written still matters to Him today. He still expects us to love Him first and love our neighbors as ourselves. If we want to know God, we still need to know love. Going back to the basics of love can help us change our current perspectives and get a refresher course in what it means to be a Christian. The essence of Christianity is faith and love. It’s not self-help. It’s not about making ourselves feel good. It’s not about prosperity. It’s definitely not about exclusion in the name of religion. It’s not about self-righteousness. It’s about Jesus and who He is. It’s about walking in the light and walking hand in hand with the Holy Spirit. Hold God with one hand and hold your neighbor with your other hand. That is the way it should be. The basics of love will never change but you and I can change the world today with love in our hands!
Suggested reading: Romans 13:8; Ephesians 4:1-4; 1 Peter 4:8