Monday, November 8, 2010

Love.... Love! Love is a Verb.

I don’t know about you, but I really struggle with the concept of God’s love for me. I am such a bad dude and the fact that the God of the universe would love me is ridiculous! I read Psalms 8 and I really wish I could fully fathom God’s love for me, and for all humans. Think about this, God loved, and still loves Adolf Hitler! This man who killed millions of innocent people, cheated so many people, and He still loves Him! It really is crazy! Stop for a second and read Psalm 8 and really contemplate this massive God, who has every reason to smite us down (smite is a gnarly word btw). Just read it and pray that God would give you a better perspective on His love. Because no matter where we are at in our spiritual life, we will always need a better understanding of God’s love.

I want to share this story from Mark 10:17-22, the story of the rich young ruler. I am almost positive you can quote this story verbatim, and if you can, GREAT! Now read it again. I don’t want you to miss the point of this story. It all hinges on one word: love. Here is a summary: Jesus is about to leave the area of Judea when a young, prominent, rich young man comes and bows before Jesus. The man seemed to get the point because the first question asked by the young man is how he could he get eternal life. From the outset it looks like this guy is going to get the point because he is more then halfway there by approaching the Son of God with this question. Of all people who could answer this question, I think Jesus was a solid choice to go to. To quicken the story Jesus tells him to obey the 10 commandments with which the young man responds that he had been keeping them his entire life. This leads to the controversial good news.

It says in verse 21 that Jesus looked at the man…. And He loved him! I have read this story many times, and have never caught that. To finish the story, Jesus tells him then that he needs to sell all of his possessions and give to the poor and that way he will gain treasure in Heaven. This discourages the young man and he walks away from Jesus sad.

What the point of the story is this: Jesus loved the man too much not to tell Him what was getting in the way of him spending eternity with Jesus in Heaven forever! This seems so countercultural today because we deem a person loving if they can sugarcoat the truth or just keep quiet all together, because after all, we don’t want to “judge others”. Jesus didn't care about this because He knew that eternity was too important for Him not to tell this guy the truth about the sin in his life. Let me ask you this, are you willing to tell a friend, even a religious friend, when they are in sin? Not out of malice or hatred, but genuine love? The Greek words for love has a few definitions, two of the more prevalent one’s are fileo (definitely spelt that wrong and don’t care), and AGAPE. Fileo(?) is a lighter term for love and is often more referred to as like instead of love. Agape is genuine love, and nothing less than love. Guess which word is used in Mark 10:21? You guessed it, AGAPE! Jesus did not just like the rich guy, He loved him even though he did not get the point of salvation!

We are called to love others too. I am not saying that if you are rich then you do not love. I am saying that if you love your riches more than Jesus, then you need to get rid of them. I know people who are rich who want to give more than they receive. These people get it. The reason Jesus told him to sell his stuff is because Jesus knew the response that would ensue, the man would get sad and just forget it and keep living in the joy of his riches.

Let me ask you a few questions, do you love your religious friend who loves things or people more than Jesus enough to call them out IN LOVE? Or what about non-believers in general? Do you even care enough to talk to them about what needs to change in their life? I don’t have an answer for you, only you can answer this because some people are at different places in their life. Read your Bible, pray and ask God for boldness to open up and truly love somebody by telling them the painful truth. This is referred to as “tough love” and sometimes it is the only way to get the point. Here is a video of an atheist named Penn Jillette who, though not being a believer, seems to get the point better than any believer I know. I hope this video convicts you to love people to tell them the truth about Jesus, and as Penn says, “proselytize” them to the point to where they legitimately need to make a choice, Jesus or the world. Jesus asked the rich man the question, and he turned his back on Christ all together, maybe your friend will work out better, maybe not. That is the Holy Spirit's call Remember though, love the person, do not judge. The link is here.

No comments: