The Quality of Love
The earth, O Lord,
is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes!
I’ve been mulling over Truth in Love that posted a few weeks ago, about what it means to hold love in one hand and truth in the other. The love of God leads, and truth follows as the Spirit leads. I’ve been letting that thought percolate.
Several times every day, I encounter a person or find myself in a situation where one of a handful of VERY volatile topics surface. It’s the presidential election, or Wall Street, or PPH/abortion, or marriage and how it’s defined. It’s the LGBT conversation or border-control or racial tensions or ISIS or Monsanto and GMO’s.
I see the redefining of things I assumed or hoped might never even be questioned, not only being questioned and reframed but written into law. I see our nation becoming less and less relevant on the global scene, standing for so little under the banner of inclusiveness.
Those daily conversations are what caused me to wonder how I’m doing offering the love of Jesus and being willing, as the Spirit would direct, to tell the truth within the context of His love. What’s surfacing has to do with the quality of the love of God, because God is commanding that I offer love, not born of this world or of my own flesh.
A new commandment I give to you,
that you love one another:
just as I have loved you,
you also are to love one another.
~ John 13:34 ~
The Quality of God’s Love:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end.
The love of God is a fixed thing. It comes to a person in its fullest expression so that it’s impossible for it to grow. It is already at maximum capacity. Neither does is diminish for any reason whatsoever. Its quality is such that it cannot be anything other than what it is.
It comes to a person for this reason alone: God loves humanity. It is not asked for, earned, or merited in any way. It comes because it pleases God for it to come. Neither can a person, by his or her actions, diminish or in any way influence the quality of His love. Even if the anger of the Lord were to “burn against” a person, it would not burn at the expense of His love. You can be angry with a person you love.
Here is the bottom line for me at this moment. I find that I can be tempted to “use” love as a means to an end. If for instance, I reach out to someone within the LGBT community, and my primary objective is to enlighten them as to God’s design for sexual expression; and if I find that I must lead with “love” to gain a hearing, I might be very tempted to use “love” to that end. It might become something I use to leverage my agenda. Is that a big deal? I think it might be monumental. I also think it will stink to high heaven to an already wounded, wary, and perhaps even hostile person.
I’m fairly certain God asks me to love because He loves. That His love would influence a person is a given. That they would be open to hearing truth because of the radical experience of being truly loved, is a worthy hope and a reasonable expectation. But I love people with ONE sole objective… to LOVE. Nothing added or hidden, with no ulterior motive, with no hope to leverage it. That is what Jesus did and does.
I don’t think most people wonder what Christians think about some of the “hot buttons” listed above. I don’t think most Christians have trouble stating fairly clearly what God says about basic theological issues. We are, however, far less known as people who truly provide sanctuary for others, regardless of the content of their beliefs. We are generally NOT known as being particularly loving. Perhaps we have forgotten how we are loved by God. Perhaps we have not stopped long enough to ponder the wonder that we should have ever, even for a moment, received His love.
What is the quality of my love? How does it translate to the people it comes to? Maybe I would be brave enough to ask someone what it’s like to be on the receiving end of my love. Maybe I would be brave enough to ask God the same question and be braver still, to listen for His response.
Let them thank the Lord
for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works
to the children of man!
By day the Lord commands
his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.