How to Really Love Other People

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

This is perhaps the most challenging thing I think I've ever struggled with in my Christian life...and in leading churches. How do we really love other people. I mean really love them so that when I'm around a lost person,I don't feel this awkward discomfort in my gut and splinter in my brain telling me, "Hey! Don't laugh, and don't let them know you think they're saved, cause they're evidently not." I so very much hate it when this happens to me.

But let's face it. How exactly do we acknowledge their lost state and yet affirm their existence as creatures made in the image of God? How do I love them...I mean sincerely love them...and yet not approve of their sin? How can I hang around them, just like Jesus did, and love them just like I'd love my own family, and not leave them thinking that they're okay with God? Man, these questions are really hard.

I suppose the razor's edge lies somewhere between accepting them unconditionally on the one hand, and making sure they understand their relationship with God on the other hand. Or, as a friend of mine put it, perhaps the razor's edge is somewhere along the lines of not allowing their lifestyle to affect me on the one hand, and not allowing myself to become numb to it on the other.

Pushing me further down this track that has frustrated me all of my adult life is Donald Miller again in his book Blue Like Jazz. Chapter 18 has been one of the most stimulating chapters I believe I've read in any book since I can remember. I can't recall a chapter affecting me so much, kicking me in the gut so much, empathizing with me so much. It's been that powerful for me.

I really don't much care what others' opinions are on the Emergent Church debate. I'm not in one, and I don't know any of 'em. But I'd sure like to. Because Jesus would. He loved everyone. He loves every one...present tense...right now. Some say Donald Miller's in bed with the Emergents. That doesn't matter to me. What matters is receiving truth where it's given. And the stuff in chapter 18 is definitely God's truth. Check it out here below.

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