Want to know what I believe the biggest problem in Western Christianity is?
Our obsession with morality.
While the church is busy lobbying the government against gay marriage, posting anti-abortion messages and preaching separation-for-sins, the message of love and grace is being swept under the carpet.
Our obsession with “right” and “wrong” is strangling the life out of the church.
Look at the example of Jesus. He took the Old Testament law and said “you have heard that it was said: love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES and pray for those who persecute you.”
He summed the commandments up: love God and love people as you love yourself.
He taught us how to turn the other cheek to violence by his example on the cross where he did not retaliate, but said: “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
John picks up the message of love and teaches us that God is love and perfect love casts out fear. He says Christians are recognized by the way that we love one another.
Paul too teaches in great detail on the topic of love:
Love is patient, love is kind.
Love always protects.
Love always perseveres.
Love never fails.
Love must be sincere: do not repay anyone evil for evil. If your enemy is hungry feed him, if he is thirsty give him something to drink.
I pray that you grasp how WIDE, LONG, HIGH and DEEP is the love of God.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Love isn’t about standing against people’s perceived immorality. Unconditional love doesn’t need people to change. Love doesn’t preach fear of hell, punishment or separation. Love promotes freedom, forgiveness and salvation.
I read recently about how mother Teresa refused to sign a petition lobbying the government against nuclear bombs. Mother Teresa said: “If I sign … I would be loving some people and not others because I would be taking sides in a controversy.” She chose love above morality. I don’t think I will ever sign another petition in my life after reading that because that is exactly how I feel!
Standing against drugs, bombs, war, adultery, homosexuality, abortion etc. only promotes more hate. Instead I want to stand up for love.
I want to turn the other cheek to violence. I want to forgive abuse, murder, rape. I want to extend grace to people that I would normally fear or become angry at.
I ask you to weigh it up. Is God obsessed with changing people’s morality or did he die while we were still sinners and us free. Is he more concerned with us overcoming perceived sins or does he want us to join as a family and heal each other through unconditional love?
Fear ensnares but love emancipates.
If we take our eyes off “right” and “wrong” for long enough, we might just experience what it means to be loved.
And then we can learn how to love one another with the unconditional love of Jesus.