first off, i apologize for my apparent lack of grammatical concern — i am rather fond of e.e. cummings, and though i admire his expressions, the lack of capitals in this blog is merely my laziness at typing on my phone. so, here are a couple of my thoughts:
over the past two weeks, i’ve really been meditating on the idea of unconditional love.
the IDEA of unconditional love seems a bit far-fetched in itself, doesn’t it? yet, this is what Jesus did, and what He expects of us.
just earlier today, for instance, i was sitting in the cafeteria, happily people-watching. i don’t see myself as an overly critical person, yet i found myself thinking things such as, “have you tried looking in a mirror before you leave the house?” or “ever heard of a hairbrush?” yes, these might not have been the most glamorous things to notice about the people shuffling through life, but i noticed them none the less.
it’s so easy for us to judge one another in terms of appearance, isn’t it? and it’s not just an outward problem! yes, we comment on the way others dress, eat, talk, or choose to express themselves, but is all of this not rooted in a critical tongue?
don’t get me wrong — we NEED people that speak into our lives and keep us accountable, but Proverbs 31:26 says that we should speak with wisdom, and that kindness should flow from our tongues.
i know that i’m quick to judge, and even quicker to speak. so, this is what Holy Spirit is pointing out to me:
LOVE SHOULD BE UNCONDITIONAL.
one of the defining moments of my life (and in terms of ministry) was in december 2009 when i was on a mission trip in Cambodia. we were visiting one of the SEVERAL orphanages, and as i was struggling to balance three to four children — snot-nosed, dirty, half-naked, but genuinely happy — between my two arms, Holy Spirit spoke to me, and this is what He said:
what makes these children any more deserving of My love than your sister? what makes your sister any more deserving of My love than these children?
yes, it was not elaborate, but it was a moment of truth in which i learnt that God’s love is UNCONDITIONAL, and it is for EVERYONE.
this seems simple enough in theory, but it’s much harder in practice.
on sunday my friend Eduan asked me this simple question: “what do you do if you can see that something is falling apart under someone else’s authority? do you step in and help, or do you let it crash and burn?”
honestly, i don’t think there’s a recipe to follow that’ll suit every problem we ever have to face. and, without trying to sound too over-saved, this is my answer:
because love shifts our perspective.
when we start loving like Jesus — unconditionally, regardless of social class, physical appearance, smell, or religious conviction — it is THEN that we will see heaven manifest on earth.
i’ve a couple of friends with, let’s say, a confused perspective on their sexual orientation, and this has been somewhat challenging. not because i do not like spending time with them — in fact they’re some of the most fun people to be with — but because i’m all the while waiting for God to open a door so i can speak to them. and, this is what i realized: the point is not to “change” them, but to LOVE them.
i watched an extract of the video from our Namibia mission trip just before writing this entry, and these words stood out to me:
Jesus hung out with the drunks and the whores and the tax-collectors. it’s good to be where the people are at.
and this is my challenge for you (and for myself!) to love like Jesus did!
more often than not, our job as christians is not to point out how sinful other people are. yes, they might have “die kat aan die gat” as we would say in Afrikaans, but it’s the GOODNESS of God that lead men to repentance, and not our critical tongues.
so, in closing, i’d like to share a couple of pointers on friendship. i received these one evening during my quiet time. may they bless you. may you see the GOLD in others and call out the kingdom to manifest as you speak with kindness and wisdom. may you know the One who is LOVE personally and intimately, and may you Love as He does!
notes on friendship:
• love unconditionally (especially when you don’t feel like it).
• be considerate >> there is no greater honour than to lay down your life for your friends.
• be faithful.
• be truthful >> I am the Light. Father sent you to represent Me. there is no space for darkness.
• uplift. encourage. exhort >> speak life and not death. build up rather than break down. ask Holy Spirit and Father what to say when — they give brilliant advice. change the atmosphere.
• give. receive. >> it is more blessed to give than to receive, but you are also allowed to sit back and be blessed by someone else.
• walk in righteousness >> be in right-standing with God and man. be quick to resolve conflict. there is no space for self-righteousness.
► The Digital Age – Rehearsals – “All The Poor And Powerless” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iG2wUL1vTY&sns=tw via @youtube