Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"Love others as well as you love yourself." - Matthew 22:39

On Sunday night, the LGBT community of America was hit hard when a terrorist attacked and killed 50 people in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL. More were injured. Others will carry the haunting images of that night in their mind's eye for the rest of their lives. The bulk of America has come forward in support of those injured or murdered in this heinous crime. They support the families and friends that said good-bye much too soon.

A large number of those supporters are also members of the Christian community. Chick-Fil-A, a Christian company, handed out free drinks and sandwiches to blood donors in one location on a Sunday- the day they are always closed for the sabbath. Others are donating blood, posting supportive memes and prayers, and more. But the response from the bulk of the LGBT community? "We don't believe you." As a Christian, this makes me sad because they are right to doubt the sincerity. We walk around all high and mighty like we are perfection when every single one of us KNOWS we are not. There was only one perfect man who ever walked this earth. His name was-and still is- Jesus Christ and our (general) treatment of the LGBT community would have him shaking his head and wondering aloud where he went wrong if he were here in the flesh among us today.

Do you know where Jesus would be right now if he were on Earth in his human body for all to see? He'd be helping the LGBT community dig themselves out of this awful sadness. He would be there loving them and comforting them. He would be sharing words from the Father with them, embracing them, allowing their sadness to happen because this is a sad, sad thing. He would walk through it with them, never leaving them alone to bear it in solitude. Because Jesus knows what God would say. "Love others as well as you love yourself (Matthew 22:39 MSG)." If we're being honest, we know we aren't doing this for many groups who believe differently than we do. It's easy to love someone who agrees with us. The challenge is loving someone else in spite of our differences.

Romans 8:38-39 says this: "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

God loves every single one of us right where we are in life with an unmatched, indescribable, fierce love. Period. Nothing added. He sent his son to die for us all; so no matter how anyone feels about choices being made by others in the world, God still loves them.

And he calls us to love them too in a most extravagant way in Ephesians 5:1-2: "Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that."

Our job here is to love others the way Jesus loves them. It's not our job to force changes. That's God's job. He can and will do a much better job working on each heart of each person in this world than I ever could or would do. John 13:35 says, " Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." We're to be known for our LOVE! And we aren't! We are judgmental, critical, uptight, hypocritical- the list goes on and on. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the world changed how they saw us? If they heard "Christian" and immediately thought "love?" Let's start today, right now. Let's love on this devastated community for real. Let's stop jabbing fingers at them and scowling in their direction. Let's just love them for who they are: beloved children of God.  

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