The Truth About Love

When Jesus allowed himself to be nailed to the cross and refused to bring himself down, he proved to us the truth about love.
Jesus proved on the cross that love is not quantifiable. True love is not something that is more or less. You can like something a little or a lot. But if you love it, you love it. If God’s love was quantifiable, Jesus would probably have said “I love them a lot, but not that much.” The truth about love Jesus proved on the cross is that there is no more or less about it—if you love you love. God is love.
On the cross, Jesus proved that God’s love will never be taken away from us. We learn that Jesus’ love for us is steadfast and true. We don’t understand why bad things happen; we are not privileged to have that knowledge. But God so loved the world. Knowing this allows us to stand unshaken and firm in the knowledge that no matter what happens to us on this earth, God does in fact, indisputably, undeniably, without any limitations whatsoever, love us. And we are commanded to love each other in the same way.
Jesus proved on that cross that love really cares. Caring is quantifiable. You can care a lot, you can care a little. The truth about love is that love always cares a lot. You can’t truly love someone if you don’t care whether they are healthy and safe. You can’t love your neighbors and not want them to have full and happy lives. True love will challenge systems that oppress, it will stand up for what is just and right, it will always care for the “least of these,” and it will always speak truth to power.

The truth about love proven to us on that cross is that love does not condemn. Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to save it. He had a right to condemn us then and he has a right to condemn us now. But he didn’t come to give us what we deserve, he came to give us his amazing grace. We learn from the cross that we can’t really love someone if we condemn them for being who they are.
Jesus proved on the cross that love sacrifices. Sometimes we have to sacrifice our desires, our safety, our comfort to truly love others.
The truth about love is that it is not a self-righteous judgmental attitude that looks down on or tries to change people who are different.
The truth about love is that it will never look, sound, feel or taste like hate.
The truth about love is that it is not a sweet, syrupy happy feeling that doesn’t do anything to prove itself.
The truth about love is that to prove it, sometimes we have to get down and dirty, sometimes it will be difficult, and sometimes proving it can really hurt.
The truth about love is that it will do whatever is necessary to prove that it’s true.
The truth about love is that it is truly amazing.
The truth about love is that it will save your life.
The truth about love is that it will give us victory over death.
The truth about love is that it is absolutely the most powerful force that we can wield on earth—it can and will move mountains.
The truth about love is that we need lots more of it in this world, and we need it now.
Hanging up there on that old, rugged cross, Jesus radiated true love. The closer we get to that cross, the more we feel love’s power to save our souls and the more we understand the truth about love; The closer we get to Jesus, the more we learn to radiate true love out to the rest of the world. He is the light of the world, giving us the wisdom and the power to save us from ourselves.


A New Year’s Prayer for Your Blessing

The phrase “shock and awe,” as we most often use it, was generated in a military setting. It describes a military tactic that is so devastating that the “enemy” immediately recognizes their inability to defend themselves, so they surrender immediately. This usually involves some form of large-scale brutal slaughter of people all at once, like the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I believe that Jesus’ coming into the world was God’s “shock and awe” tactic, intended to help the world move to a better place. Not that the world is God’s enemy—but just the opposite, “for God so loved the world” (John3:16). The shock God gave us is the proof of God’s unfathomable power through the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus; the awe is that it’s all about God’s unfathomable love. Through Jesus, God offers us a love so complete that we still have a hard time grasping it. The awesomeness includes a grace that is so amazing that it pierces the hearts of all who accept it.

The change that God’s shock and awe tactic seeks is for the purpose of world dominance, but it’s not for world destruction. We’re doing a pretty good job of destructing the world ourselves without God’s help. God’s tactic is designed to make the whole world more wholesome, more healthy, by helping the people in the world to become more loving, caring and peaceful. God intends to change us one by one, helping us to understand the depth and breadth of God’s love, moving us closer to God’s goodness. A more wholesome world for all the inhabitants will be the result.

Too many Christians don’t really believe some important teachings of Jesus, because they just seem so radical. Things like “love your enemy”, “do good to those who would hurt you” (both in Luke 6:27) and “give to everyone who begs” (Luke 6:30). Too many of us don’t really accept that we are to give up some things we desire in life so that others might have better lives (Philippians 2: 5-11). Too many of us don’t believe that Jesus’ radical forgiveness from the cross that still shocks and awes us is the same forgiveness that God expects us to share with others (Luke 23:34). Too many of us see Jesus as our personal savior, and are very thankful for that, yet we see the rest of the world as not our problem.

Our job as believers is not to just talk to people about Jesus. Our job is to share the radical, powerful and unrelenting love that Jesus brought, taught, and showed us, so much so that people will be shocked and awed into believing, and be changed.

So here is my prayer seeking blessings for your new year:

May you find abundant opportunities this new year to shock others with the love of Christ through your acts of loving kindness. May you discover new ways to share the awesomeness of God-like forgiveness and grace with those who need to receive it from you. May you be strong and bold in your faith in the teachings of Christ, standing against injustice with justice, unrighteousness with righteousness, hate with love, discrimination with inclusion and war with peace. May your heart sing with God’s joy, which this world can neither give to you nor take from you. May your soul feel the rich satisfaction of peace that comes from knowing you tried your best to follow Christ. May your mind find new ways to share that same joy and peace with those who God puts in your presence.

Have a Blessed and Happy New Year!