March 13, 2013

Maybe All We Really Need is Love

"You can throw the entire Bible away if you just keep what Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37-40---Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law of the prophets. But the human race has made a mess of it and wreaked the worst havoc and wrought the most horrific destruction, in our Lord's name, because we can't live by those two most basic commandments. And we can't create heaven on earth with just a few people having that intention." (The Book of Love, Kathleen McGowan)

Days since finishing the book, the above still permeates my thoughts.Of all the biblical lessons I have heard none has touched so deeply.

Perhaps it is because my heart continually breaks seeing many seeking refuge in the church only to have the door slammed on their face. We don't accept you here because you are not one of us, you are shunned because of your depression, you are gay don't bother coming here, go home and be more submissive to your abusive husband, you are a woman and therefore that disqualifies you from helping in that program, you are ruined and going to hell because you are divorced, your kids will never know God because you don't take them to church each week, sorry we cannot help you financially you are not a member here.

Sadly, all of the above have been told to people I know. Some to me directly. Sure, I can hear them saying now..."but it was said in love. Those things are wrong....biblically wrong"...and they continue to make noise trying to justify their actions. If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1

There is no justification in one sinner casting another sinner aside. 

What a beautiful world could exist if we choose to love one another. To open our hearts, and arms,and doors to others whenever they came seeking. To let go of our denominational doctrines that are narrowly exclusive and instead live out---that these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13.

I believe that even though the church may have closed their hearts and doors to their suffering brothers or sisters, God never does. My relationship with God is separate from my relationship to a church.  And I am not saying all churches are bad, or you shouldn't go to church, but sadly I have seen too many examples of judgement passed out from others within the church.

Too seldom do we see people in their true humanness. We see them as Jews or Gentiles, Catholics or Protestants, Chinese or American, blacks or whites (divorced, gay, poor, different from us). We fail to see them as fellow human beings made from the same basic stuff as we, molded in the same divine image.- Martin Luther King, Jr.

In our human weakness we fail to show grace to others. We fail to reach out to those who are different. We quickly give advice through our narrowed lens of understanding. We condemn others based on our own arrogant presumptions. We fail to act as Jesus would. 

I confess I have done all of the above, repeatedly. But thankfully, I have questioned, and learned, and started to really know our Jesus through my own relationship with him. 

Not because I was raised a Baptist, or a preacher's kid, or because my parents did...but because I was cast aside by my many fellow Christian friends in the past several years. Many still won't talk to me. All because I was divorced. They choose to believe rumors they heard or drew their own conclusions. I no longer fit their unblemished mold of a Christian woman. 

Since then I have seen the face of God through others who engulfed me in love. From my homeless friends who leave notes on my car to friends I now consider family, to an island home where there are no strangers, I believe more and more that all we may really need is love.

No comments: