Thursday, August 07, 2014
Our Problem, Not Theirs
I was a young pastor, and I was sure everybody in the church was kind, gracious, and Christian. Everybody would treat everybody else with the love of God. Needless to say, it didn't take me long to learn that even in the church are people who don't quite get there. Some people are really hard to love.What's the point in dividing things into "loveable" and "unlovable?" As Lawless points out in his first reason, "God loves them." That pretty much, by definition makes them lovable. Thus by having this discussion we are in some sense simply creating a chore for ourselves.
At the same time, I couldn't avoid Jesus' telling us to love God and neighbor (Matt. 22:34-40). Nor could I run from New Testaments commands that we love one another (1 Thess. 4:9, 1 Pet. 1:22, 1 John 3:23). I would be lying to say I never struggle now, but I've learned something about loving others. Here are ten reasons why we must love even unlovable church members.
The second thing I would point out is that loving someone does not mean accepting their behavior. Sometimes love means helping someone understand the destructive nature of their behavior. If we think that then we do not understand what love really is.
My point is this - if we are having problems "loving the unlovable" then we ought to be looking inward. What is it about us that makes us view them as "unlovable." What are we failing to understand about ourselves? How are we failing to let God remake us properly in His image? I mean honestly, do you think God sweats this issue on these terms? Not only does He love us, but we are pretty repellent to Him with the whole sin thing going on. This isn;t an issue if we are trying to be God's genuine people.
Sometimes I think that when we try to discuss thinks like this we are making ourselves stay in modes of thought that God wants to change as a part of our maturing process. We just need to do away with the category "unlovable."