I watch, listening too, and feel the weight of division. Misunderstanding, accusations, and discord overarch seemingly everything.
My heart hurts…I think of love and hate and the misuse of both words. I feel the gravity of deception and destruction and I pray.
I think of my own beliefs and their roots. I think of the love I feel for ALL. Though I oppose gay marriage, I know my love for gay individuals is unfailing. Would I wipe the brow of a sick or wounded person of that persuasion with the same tenderness and genuine care that I would my own family? Oh yes. Would I speak with kindness and an outstretched hand to their needs as I would any other? Most certainly. Do I feel superior or less sinful? No. Simply, no. However, I call my sin, sin. I abstain from the sins that tempt me, crying out for strength in effort to do as scripture beckons, “turn from your wicked ways.” Do I consider some of my ways wicked? Yes. As the apostle Paul said, “I die daily.” What does that mean? It means daily, I have to put down many natural desires, desires to yell in anger, desires to be lazy, desires to overindulge in food, desires to lie instead of face painful truth, desires to manipulate to get my way…the list is endless, but I call each of these by their honest name, sin.
I have this sin nature that is as sinful as anyone’s. I have a daily struggle that is as real as anyone’s could be, but I don’t celebrate it. I don’t bask in it. I honestly bear it and with God’s help, moment to moment, I try to measure my words and my deeds against His commands. The Spirit is stronger than the flesh or my Lord would still be in the grave. His Spirit gives light to drive out my darkness, life to overcome death, strength to resist temptation, and hope to hold on trusting His ways are better.
As I’m known by my children for saying, “what I know of sin I learned from my own and I wouldn’t wish the consequences on anyone.” How true, how deeply and painfully true. My sin is as ugly as anyone’s. it is because of this that I cry out to others to live honorably, to love your soul’s lover (Christ) more than you love anything or anyone else. Pleasure of the flesh is momentary. A quiet, peaceful spirit endures. It endures not only for moments, but for all of life and for all of eternity.
This is love. Christ died to free us FROM the bondage of sin and its penalty, not TO sin. I’ve also said before and say again here, most want a Savior, few want a Lord. We want the benefit of salvation, but we don’t want the commitment that requires us to follow Christ, which means to live as He lived, uncompromising, honest, and pure. Christ forgives sin. He changes the sinner by cleansing us, not by making what was sin no longer sin so that we are left unchanged.
Why did The Lord give us commands anyway? Because He loves us! I think of my children, their bodies so very precious to me. I think of the times they’ve fallen or become sick and I’ve held them in their pain, even shed worried and sympathetic tears for them as I offered all the comfort I was able to give. Then I think of The Father in heaven and His love, far superior to mine, and I imagine His broken heart over the brokenness of this world. He loves us so…
I look at the confusion in the world and I know, I know its author. The discord and division, especially among those who profess Christ’s Name, delights the one who roams about seeking to devour, to steal, to kill, and to destroy. I think of the upside down, the backwards, and the twistedness that abounds and I grieve. It ought not so to be among the household of faith. “Love one another as I have loved you.” This is the command. He never changed. He offers change to us. That is the gift. Called out of darkness into marvelous light. I know both and because of that I want only goodness and light for others. Because of love, not hate.