Written Thursday, July 14, 2016
As I was walking back to my cabin today, I was pondering:
How on earth did a liberal feminist end up at a conservative Bible camp in the middle of Minnesota?
I’m halfway into the summer, and I still ponder this sometimes. But I think I’m starting to understand the answer.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13:34-35
They will know us by our love.
But is that really what Christians are known for to the vast majority of the world?
It’s easy to love people who agree with us.
It’s easy for me to point out the ways I see Christians judging more than they are loving. Churches being more exclusive than inclusive.
Easy to love author and preacher Nadia Bolz-Weber, who understands the power of grace and isn’t afraid to call people (including herself) out on their bullshit. Who doesn’t judge people who swear because she swears herself.
Easy to show love towards those who readily admit they aren’t perfect instead of trying to act like they have it all together.
But here’s what’s hard for me: loving the people who proclaim they love Jesus, yet they judge and exclude people. Because if you didn’t know…Jesus hung out with tax-collectors, prostitutes, murderers, you name it.
So I think God is trying to teach me how to love the people I disagree with, the people who exclude others. The people who act like they have it all together, because here’s a secret: no one has it all together.
Because the only way to teach people how to love is by showing them, by setting that example.
And that’s what I’m here for.
So what does that love look like, practically?
It means being patient and not getting angry with people who make rude, misinformed comments about the LGBT community. But it’s also recognizing that love is kind and always protects, so that means challenging those people who are being unloving, because maybe they aren’t even aware of it.
The Bible is clear: it doesn’t matter how much we know. Our gifts, our talents, even our faith – they all mean NOTHING if we don’t have love.
“We love because He first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” -1 John 4:19-21