Each of us makes a choice every minute of our life.
The choice we make is to love or hate; to live in heaven or hell; to do good or not; to follow Jesus or listen to the world of men and things.
When we chose to love everyone, serve our fellow man, do good even if it goes against the accepted norm, live in the present, and do the will of God than we have chosen love, heaven, the good, and to follow Jesus. John 10:10 is my favorite verse of the entire bible, in it Jesus says that he has come to give life and life to the full. Living to the full is not about taking stupid risks or feeling good, it is about living in healthy and loving ways. The Great commandment (Matthew 2236:40, Mark 12:28-34) is about loving God, neighbor, and self. I believe that in order to love God and others we must love our self, not in a gratuitous self-absorbed way, but by taking care of our needs and being nice to ourselves.
I have a problem with being nice to myself. I am my own harshest critic. There are times I mentally beat the crap out of myself. I know I need to work on this. I need to see myself the way God sees me.
This is not just a one-time choice, it’s a choice we make in each moment, with everything we do. Our Christianity to mean anything must change how we live in the world. It should affect how we live. If we say, we are Christians, but don’t do the things that the bible teaches than how can we say we really are followers of the Jesus way.
As Christians, we are called to love the unlovable, accept the unacceptable, to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and include the excluded.
In the gospels, we find Jesus healing, forgiving, and dining with men and women who the authorities find unlovable, unacceptable, and believe should be excluded. Yet, Jesus found more wrong with the religious elite than with sinners. Jesus saved his harshest words for the religious leaders.
Jesus never gave us a list of who to love, simply told us to love, to love everyone without exception.
Our response to all of life should be love.
This is not some nifty theory, but something we need to put into practice in each moment. We need to do the things that will express our love for life and others, and our commitment to Jesus and the Kingdom of God.
Martin Luther King, Jr.: He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. The time comes when silence is betrayal. That time has come for us today…some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak.” “We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.
Sometimes it’s easy to look the other way and go on our way. Sometimes we just want to ignore the hurting and lost people around us, to put our personal concerns first. We often think ‘I’m not my brother’s keeper’, sometimes we even say this aloud. We go on our way. We let bad things fester into evil, things don’t get better they only get worse. If we want things to be different, we must be the change. If we want to be true followers of the Jesus way, than we will have to get our hands and feet dirty and love people in real ways. We must stand up for love, for what Jesus stood for and wants his followers to stand up to not letting the suffering to continue. The gospels tell us emphatically that suffering and death is not the end of the story. That in the darkest night light will shine through and dispel the darkness.
Christians say they are against abortion that its murder, but how many of us are standing up for the children around us. How many of us look the other way when children are being bullied or abused.
Christians say they want to protect the sanctity of marriage, but how many of us get married too soon or divorce too quickly. How many of us fail in small ways to honor and love their spouse.
Christians say they take the bible literal, but how often do we do what Jesus said to do instead of reading our agenda into the bible. How many times have we excluded people by using the bible as a weapon?
These are just three ways we (and I do include myself into this), Christians do not live up the teachings and spirit of the Jesus way. I don’t live up to the Jesus way all the time either. This is why we need a savior and why I am so thankful that our savior is Jesus.
Listen to C. S. Lewis—
“[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.”
Loving God, others, and ourselves is not about getting into heaven after we die or any other reward we might gain, but it is about living life the way it should be lived. If we want to be loved than we should love, if we want to be treated well than we should treat others well, if we want to be blessed with goodness than we should bless others with goodness.
My hope for each of us is that we choose love in every moment of our lives.
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