Love. God has changed my thinking, and now I believe in loving others above anything else.
In church I learned that God wants us to love others. But there were always other things which were more important. Little caveats. Yes, we should love, but you know, don't take it too far.
Love, but keep everyone within certain boundaries.
Love, but rules are rules.
Love, but men need to be the leaders. Love, but everyone has to stay within "God's design" for their gender.
Love, but gay is wrong. Love, but don't touch anything gay with a 30-foot pole, or else someone might think you approve of that lifestyle. Love, but not a word about anti-gay bullying or precious children taking their own lives.
Love, but it's kinda scary when there are too many people of color around. Love, but cultural differences are uncomfortable. Love, but seriously, if people come to the US, they should learn the language.
Love, but poor people just need to work harder, instead of leeching off responsible hard-working Americans. Love, but I stay at the top, while you needy people below me just gratefully accept whatever I give, and I'll congratulate myself for being so generous.
Love, but the most important thing is to warn people about hell.
Love, but we already know all the other religions are evil- no need to actually learn anything about them.
Love, but abortion is always wrong.
Love, but premarital sex is always wrong.
Love, but keep the status quo.
No. No longer will I believe in all these exceptions. No. The bible is clear: love.
It's kind of scary, isn't it? It means we might have to throw out the rules and just accept people. It means I might encounter some uncomfortable situations, because I'm not in control anymore- I can't force people to come to me on my own terms- that's not love. It means dismantling the systems that give me advantages and give others disadvantages.
But the bible is clear. Love, love above anything else. God is love.
He's not the God of the caveats. He's the God of love.
He's not the God of keeping the status quo. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. The bible is clear.
He's not the God of caveats, who puts limits on love, who wants to keep the rules and only love people within the systems that exist now. God broke the rules. He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! This is a God who truly loves, more than anything else. More than keeping the rules. More than keeping the status quo. More than keeping himself above everyone else. The bible is clear.
God is love. God is love. And I'm scared- it would be so much easier if it were about rules. Then everything would be controlled and predictable. But that's not love.
And I thank God for what he has done for me, helping me see through these excuses we use for being unloving. And I hope I can follow God by loving others. Somehow.
The bible is clear. Love.
This post is part of a link-up on the topic of Psalm 66. To read other people's posts, click here: Taking the Long View of Faithfulness.