One of the great scandals of contemporary Christianity is what Craig Groeschel calls “Christian Atheism.” This is where we say we believe something and then live like we do not believe it. The lawyer of Luke 10:25-28 stands up and asks the quintessential question of a seeker, “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” At the end of the chain of discussion Jesus leads the man to the answer. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ In fact, Jesus punctuates it with, “Do this and you shall live.”
Even non-Christians know, and many practice, the latter half of that commandment. We call it the Golden Rule.
But for many persons, including many Christians, there is more intellectual assent than real life application. We know we should practice it, and we do … up to a point.
Up to the point when….
Demonstrating that love requires us to sacrifice a significant amount of time.
Loving them requires us to wade into the mess in which they find themselves living where we might get messy, too.
Loving them calls us to sacrifice something precious rather than what is convenient or superfluous.
Loving them demands us to see them as persons for whom Christ died rather than simply objects of our good works.
Loving them is met with rejection or contempt.
I am reminded that God loved a world where people were His enemies.
He loved a world that killed his prophets and dishonored His holiness.
He loved a world where people keep asking, no, demanding His help and then squandering the blessing.
He loved a world that He knew would crucify Jesus.
Love, genuine God-inspired and empowered love is unconditional and incarnational and sacrificial.
Any less is not really love. It is a counterfeit.
(C) 2011 by Stephen L Dunn