Monday, March 17, 2014

What is love?

I saw this photo posted on facebook a few weeks ago and It was disturbing enough to me that I saved it for this blog post.  See, 11 years ago, I knew all about wanting to be loved like a country song.  When I was a teen I dreamed about it in my room, I danced to it in my car, and I walked down the aisle to it in what turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life when I was 19!  I embraced, loved and dreamed about every aspect of it from, "strawberry wine",  "Cowboy take me away", "She thinks my tractors sexy", to "unanswered prayers", "Breathe", and "man I feel like a woman!!"  You see no matter what the song was about, weather it was a happy story, or a sad one- it was still mesmerizing and took me to a place that didn't matter the outcome because I was in a story about love!!  I saw love through country song glasses, where it didn't matter if he cheated because at least I would have a heart wrenching song I could sing afterwards!  But when it happened in reality I didn't feel like singing much!  My view of love was tainted by fairy tales and songs.  I thought that my life fit into one of these songs and as long as it did- Good or bad- I would be happy.  I was wrong!  Looking to love songs or fantasy to fulfill my self-worth left me empty and alone.

Here is another example.  See, God IS LOVE!  I thank God that these people aren't Him nor do they apparently know the real heart of God because God's word says, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, " Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails..." 

I can't sit here and say that the homosexual lifestyle is okay because I don't believe that it is, however it does not mean that Christians can't show the love of God.  God loves homosexuals, they are his children they are made in his image just like we all are.  Just because we do not agree with their lifestyle does not mean that God hates them or that he does not see their tears!  His heart breaks for them and their pain just like it does for any of us!  These people see others through "legalistic, cultic, and selfish glasses."  They treat others harshly not just if they don't believe the same way but if they don't go to the same church!  

Jesus was Love, but Jesus was also JUST.  While he showed his love to ALL people he still was offensive when he would call people out on their sins.  But I have to say not once did I see where Jesus stood on street corners jumping up and down like an idiot with signs that say "I hate fags" or "I hate your tears!"  When he met the woman at the well who had, "many" husbands, he did not tell her how disgusted he was with her but he treated her as any other person, spoke to her lovingly but also let her know that what she was doing was wrong and she needed to make it right!  There are ways to love people and show them the Love of Christ while letting them know they are not abiding by the Word of God, without dishonoring, delighting in evil, or abusing that power.  This does not show the Love of God and only pushes others further from the truth!

When I was younger, the image of a church like the one above gave me warm fuzzy feelings of hope and love.  Just the thought of going to a church with other Christians (even when I wasn't a Christian at the time) made me excited and happy!  We have come a long way with church buildings over the years!  Back in the New Testament the church did not meet in church buildings but in homes, now we have church buildings that are amazingly beautiful!  Buildings that you would be afraid to sit down on the seats because you don't want to wrinkle the fabric!!  Not only has the buildings changed but the love inside has as well!  People have forgotten what God's word says about Love and it seems they need to be refreshed!!

I was reminded this week of an old song I heard several years ago asking the question, "If Jesus came to your church, would you let him in?"  I can't for the life of me remember the name of the song but it went on to explain that Jesus would have filthy dirty feet, would they let him walk on the carpet?  He would be smelly and dirty, he would not look like everyone else nor would he have his best Sunday suit on- so would they ask him to leave??

This week I was horrified when I was told a story of something that happened in a previous church our family had been part of.  A friend of our family- whom we will call Angel- is on dialysis and also has other medical problems she was dealing with.  Angel was in a wheel chair and had finally decided to visit a church and accepted Jesus as her Savior.  This particular church airs it's Sunday services on TV.  One Sunday morning she decided to head down to the alter in her wheel chair to pray-  she was stopped halfway down the isle by a pastor and was told they did not want to see wheel chairs on tv, she needed to walk down to the isle or go back to her seat!  Angel then proceeded to tell the story of the Sunday that she got kicked out of the church!  She was sitting in the front row on another Sunday morning and began to feel nauseous because of her medical condition.  She tried to leave but didn't make it out and vomited on the floor.  She was told not to come back to church because people do not want to see her vomit on camera!!  She was told she can watch the services from home!!

I've never been so outraged to hear a dying woman tell such stories!!  This woman has since decided to go off her dialysis and stop fighting!  Maybe if God's people would have shown her that God had a plan for her life still- even in the midst of her sickness- Maybe if God's people would have looked beyond the carpet, and cameras, and into the actual hearts of the people- she would have had a church family that loved and supported her and she wouldn't have felt the need to stop her treatments!!  

LOVE is not a Country Song, Love is not picketing funerals of homosexuals or soldiers, LOVE is not having a beautiful church building, money, or a television show.  LOVE IS BEING SELFLESS!!!  LOVE IS THINKING OF OTHERS BEFORE YOURSELF!!  LOVE IS MAKING OTHERS HAPPY WHEN YOU ARENT!!  LOVE IS PUTTING OTHERS NEEDS BEFORE YOUR OWN!!!

No wonder people don't understand the whole "love the sinner, hate the sin" concept!  No wonder people would rather die a slow painful death with no hope than to come to a church and receive Christ as their SAVIOR!!  No wonder marriages are falling apart all over the place because we are looking to songs and fairy tales to fulfill us instead of Christs Love!!

Our concept of what love really is is so distorted!  If anyone understands what REAL love is it should be Christians!!  We have experienced an everlasting, undeserving, selfless kind of love that most people do not know exists and instead of making sure people see that in us- we are worried about the carpet!!  

People have to learn to find their self worth in the Love of Christ and who He says we are instead of what other people say or think of us.  People will always disappoint us (especially Christians)- no one is perfect.  The only person who will not disappoint us is Jesus Christ Himself!  Jesus' love was perfect, He selflessly took our payment for our sins, even though he knew we would still sin, and gave his life for ours!  That is the true meaning of Love.    

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