Christianity is not a 12-step-program. God is calling us to a reckless abandoning love that dictates our relationships. But this love does not come without cost. Jesus himself was willing to disturb people’s daily lives and routines if it meant it would draw them into a deeper love relationship with him. God is calling us to love people in truth but this is often contrary to the way our society lives. In our culture we attempt to avoid discomfort at all costs especially in the area of relationships. We do not want to make other people uncomfortable, yet we wonder why our relationships fail. While this sounds like Christianity 101, I am challenged by the questions:
- When is the last time I truly suffered for someone else?
- When is the last time I loved someone when it was desperately inconvenient for me?
- Do I love people the way I want to love them or the way they need to be loved?
Jesus was incredibly discerning. He knew when to confront people’s beliefs and when to just give his frustrations over to God. There are multiple examples in the gospels of Jesus challenging cultural norms but it was always with the purpose of exposing truth in order to bring people into a full and real relationship with the Father. How often do I choose the sin of self-protection over speaking the truth in someone’s life? I am all too aware that, like this culture, I wish to avoid discomfort- sometimes at the cost of true intimacy with others. Our society is much like the Wizard of Oz:
- The Scarecrow who wanted to be smart was rewarded with a diploma.
- The Lion who wanted to be brave was rewarded with a medal.
- But the Tinman who wanted a heart says at the end of the movie: “Now I know I have a heart, because it’s breaking.”
God is calling us to a life of love; love cannot exist without discomfort because truth will always expose the darkness in us to the light of God. Love is an easy subject to discuss but a very challenging reality to live out. It should force us out of ourselves. Therein lies the question: Do I love people with my moralistic ideas of right and wrong, with my human attempt at justice and comfort, with my efforts and expectations alone? Or does the love of God flow through me in a supernatural way? Would my life look any different if God was not a part of it? Does Christianity make my life a holy mess or do I practice self-protection so as not to get entangled in this glorious, frightening, risky, wonderful, painful business of love?