Wednesday, March 27, 2013

L.O.V.E.

 
Image from http://joyfullyyoursusannah.blogspot.com
God’s really been working heavily on my heart this week – He’s been chiseling me in an area that I have sadly neglected over time, and an area I feel many others could work on as well.

With the issue of gay marriage and “equal rights” being in the supreme court this week, my newsfeed on Facebook was exploding with a variety of thoughts – some bitter and angry, some truthful yet loving, and some complacent in and defensive of the sin of the world. As I read the many posts and replies this week regarding this hot-topic issue, I couldn’t help but get extremely passionate about the Lord and His commands that are clearly stated in His word. How have we as a society become so “lukewarm” (remember God will spew the lukewarm out of His mouth – Rev. 3:16) that we don’t have an opinion on the matter? Many are simply desiring popularity, so they say nothing. In God’s kingdom, we will be the least popular among the population, and we will face much persecution for standing on the commands of God. I would much rather be found in favor with my King for eternity than with sin-filled people on earth during this short life. What frustrated me the most, however, is that supporters of gay marriage were using the word of God to try and defend homosexuality. How can so many falsify His word (whether it be in ignorance or willingly) to the point that the act that God calls an abomination (homosexuality) should be acceptable?

You can see where my frustration comes from, and it is a legitimate concern. God commands His followers to defend His word and His commands. But in the midst of these heated debates, I was missing something big. We know that God is love and just. There is a perfect balance. Many times, I think we ourselves lose sight of that balance. My "goal" this week was to help people understand that we will one day answer to a Savior…did we surrender our lives to Him?...did we build our foundation upon His word and His commands?...did we stand up for His word and His commands?

As much as we need to keep God’s act of justice in perspective, we can’t lose sight of the overwhelming fact that God is also love. When we stand against issues such as abortion and homosexuality, we tend to get too passionate about the issue rather than the heart and soul of the person we are trying to reach. The listener won’t respond to our words unless there is love in what we speak.

I Corinthians 13:1-3 (ESV)
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

In other words, my truth-filled message would only sound like noise to the listener without love. I can have the strongest faith among men, yet make no impact in someone’s life because my message was lacking love. We are nothing without love...nothing. The Greek word used here for "love" is that which is a selfless concern for another’s welfare. It is the same word used for Christ’s love that was manifested on the cross. Wow…That’s a powerful love!

So how are we to appropriately respond to hot-topic issues? I can say from experience that the Holy Spirit ultimately guides us. I don’t get involved in discussions unless I feel that I can make a positive impact and walk away maintaining a Christ-like character. I also find myself praying over the words I write before I make them public – does my message portray God’s love and truth? I pray for the person as well – that God would soften her heart and open her eyes. In fact, God tells His followers to gently and kindly guide and instruct those that oppose us so that they may discover their wrong-doings and find repentance. However, we are not to quarrel, as it gives the devil a foothold.


2 Timothy 2:14-16 (NIV)

14 Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen…15 an approved workman does not need to be ashamed and correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.


2 Timothy 2:23-26 (NIV)
23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do His will.

The next time I get caught up in a conversation on a heated subject, I need to keep love the center of all I do. If I can’t balance my heart and words on love and truth, I need to walk away from the opportunity to do damage and get my heart right with the Lord. I encourage you to check your heart and see if God can work on you in this area as well. We will always be a masterpiece in the works, but it is up to us whether or not we will let the Master chisel away the rough edges. Lord, chisel me into your masterpiece.

Mental Illness and the Church