Let love prevail


Below is a post I put on Facebook last week, minus one of my two short political statements, because I have no interest in Sanctuary Christian Counseling participating in politics, at least in this way, and the first of my political statements is really a personal one. I am reposting it – with changes and this introduction – because I think this is a different forum, and I’d like to make sure it gets as wide an audience as possible.

Since I wrote it, early in the morning on Tuesday, many, MANY people have contacted me – far more than the ones who commented – saying, in essence, that my essay gave voice to what they had been feeling all along. That they didn’t have the words to express their fear, sadness, discontent.

Since that time, in my quiet time, what has been coming to me over and over is the verse – Jesus’ words – “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”

John 13:35.

And, from the apostle John,"God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them." (1John 4:16b).

What would our world – our country – look like if we did that? If instead of hate, instead of divisive language, instead of justifications, we practiced LOVE.

Not fear. Not “rightness” or “political correctness,” nor even “debate.”

Love.

Love of the person who doesn’t look like you. Love of the person who doesn’t love like you. Love of the person who totally disagrees with you. Love of the person who doesn’t love you back.

What would it look like?

Isn’t this what God is calling us to? Isn’t this what that verse is saying?

We can get so wrapped up in the craziness of our lives, in the world and what is going on in it right now, that we forget. THIS is the way the world sees us as Jesus’ disciples – LOVE.

Many of you are too young to remember this early Christian chorus, from the beginning of the praise movement, but I remember clearly sitting on the sands of Rehoboth Beach, singing this with other kids, and meaning it, too. I post it here, not because it is theology – it isn’t – but because it has a good message. A message that we – I – need to hear, all these years later.

They’ll Know We are Christians by Our Love

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord; We are one int he Spirit, we are one in the Lord; And we pray that all unity will one day be restored. Chorus: And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love. We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand; We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand; And together we'll spread the news that God is in our land. We Will work with each other, we will work side by side; We will work with each other, we will work side by side; And we'll guard each man's dignity and save each man's pride. All praise to the Father, from whom all things come; And all praise to Christ Jesus, His only Son. And all praise to the Spirit who makes us one.

[Copyright: Words: 1966 F.E.L. Publications. Assigned 1991 Lorenz Publishing Company (Admin. by Lorenz Corporation), Music: 1966 F.E.L. Publications. Assigned 1991 Lorenz Publishing Company (Admin. by Lorenz Corporation)]

If I had my druthers, I’d change the word “man” in the third verse to “one,” but I’ve chosen not to change it here. Using that noun to designate groups of people was common in the 1960s when this song was written and wasn’t at that time taken as a sexist statement (though it is also fair that most things were not). In any case, I don’t want to get lost in a sexist/whatever argument but rather to focus on the intent here – they will know we are Christians by our LOVE.

I challenge you, loyal Sanctuary Christian Counseling blog readers – or those who find this blog on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedn or wherever – how can YOU live this verse?

By this everyone will know that you are Jesus’ disciples, if we love one another.

Is there any other real way to end this madness?

Let love prevail.

__________

[following is the original post from Facebook June 30, 2020, if you wish to read it, with the revisions I’ve noted.]

I have a confession to make.

I hope you will bear with me: I'm going to be gut-level honest with you. And, it's going to be long. I'm sorry.

I hope you'll stick with me to the end where I talk about what's really important.

I am still on the path to understanding my own privilege in this world, and I can't begin to say I fully get it. But I think it's terribly important that we be in this equality race for the long haul and that we wrestle with the ideas of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and whatever else currently divides us. It can't just be the "cause du jour" but has to be a rallying cry for our generation. We MUST find a way to give equal rights to those who we perceive are different from us, because in reality, we are all created and loved by God equally. I am learning, and I hope others are, too, what my role has been and can be in the future.

Here's the ticket -- I'm done with the current atmosphere of hate and divisiveness in this nation. There must be justice, yes, of course, but there must also be love, community and respect. We are missing that.

I'm as guilty as the next person. I know it. You probably even have seen my guilt as I talk – in the topics I choose, in the words that I say, or not say.

I'm done with it.

Let this be a clarion call. Let love prevail!

The United States was founded on many principles, not the least of which is the idea that all are created equal. I KNOW the language isn't right. I get it. But in practice, let's make it real. ALL are created equal. All CAN be equal.

We all have opinions and ideas, and we are free to express them when they do not interfere with someone else's right to something else. For instance, you are not free to scream "fire" in a crowded theater -- not because you don't have the right to scream "fire," but because others will be hurt. This is the concept for me behind wearing masks. Your "right" to not wear one hurts MY right to live. Of the two, I believe the right to live should take precedence. You are free, of course, to disagree with me. Because that is America.

So express yourself. But do it with love and respect. NO ONE enjoys being disrespected, marginalized, mocked, or publically eviscerated.

I have an idea -- let's start a movement. Let's try HARD to act, from this moment on, with tenderness, caring, compassion, respect. With LOVE.

We can do it. Join me. Refuse to get drawn into public debates that hurt others. Think, as Jesus urged us, of others more highly than we do ourselves. Turn away from nasty or mocking memes or videos: If you don't help the hatemongers, they will eventually die away. Don't give evil a foothold.

Instead, let love lead the way.

Write your own story, but write one like mine. Post it on your Facebook page. Pledge to stop this madness that has overtaken our country. Pledge to be part of the solution, not the problem. Feel free to maintain your own legitimate political leanings and opinions -- that's America, after all -- but don't bludgeon others with them.

Show love in everything you do.

I'm in. I'm sure I'll fail and I'll make an idiot out of myself from time to time, and I'm sure I'll give you cause to be annoyed at me occasionally. But I'm going to try to let the love of Christ shine out of me instead of ME.

Who is with me?

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