Yesterday, as part of our churches 'Epiphany' message series, I had the privilege to speak a message on radical love. If you wish to hear the whole thing, you can find it here (though I warn you, there is a few visual illustrations that you may not catch).
The title of that message was inspired by Switchfoot's new single: LOVE ALONE IS WORTH THE FIGHT. It solidified the main point I wanted to drive home. What I love about the the title 'Love Alone Is Worth The Fight' is It beckons the question: Why is Love Alone Worth The Fight?
I could come at this from so many angles which would probably span into a mini blog series in itself, but let me simply give a few thoughts. I will break this into three posts, which this will be the first.
I shouldn't have to say this, but of course this will barely scratch the surface of this topic, and probably will be somewhat unbalanced. But, this is about provoking thought and driving home a point, so feel free to interact and ask question. So here we go...
1. Love is Arguably the Most Powerful Force in the Universe
You may be surprised by this, but the opposite of Love is not Hate. Hate is simply a byproduct of something worse: fear. We see this in the fear of what is different, the fear of change, the fear of of things we don't understand, fear of the unknown.
Fear is a very powerful force in itself, and in many retrospects can drive change. But in the end it never lasts and doesn't produce the result we wish to see in our lives. When we are driven by fear we attempt to fix ourselves with shear will power in hopes to gain some approval from someone or for something.
This is so often the underpinning of rule based religion itself... fear. Fear to fail, fear of our shortcomings, fear of what God and others thinks of us and ultimately fear of judgement. As I heard one speaker put it: Religion, and at its core fear, will always lead to two things: guilt/depression or pride. Either we try by shear force of will to better ourselves in hopes to gain God's or someone else's approval and fail and fail and eventually give up out of total hopelessness. Or worse, we become so self diluted to think we have made it and elevate ourselves above others, pointing fingers and forgetting our need is as great as anyone else's.
Now to be clear, this is not some slight to deny that one day we will all have to give account for our actions. But, let us never forget at the root of God's heart is his heart for his Children (2 Pet 3 - emphases on verse 9). See, if you are driven by the fear of God's judgement you have not experienced His divine Grace and Love. In the end it is only radical, shocking, wasteful, divine love that will bring real eternal change.
"Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love." (1 John 4:18)
Much to often people have a warped view of God, The Church and Christianity, because they have seen this belief played out by the motivation of fear and not a outpouring of a life effected by God's divine love. See, we need to continual come back to our desperate need for this love, soak in it, daily realize it and in the end wear this love everywhere we go (Col 3:14)--more on that in part 3.
See, what is more powerful then fear is love and the only thing that can dispel fear is love. Love is the most powerful force in the universe, and it is only love and ultimately divine love the outworking of that love that can cure us of the cancer that permeates us all & change the will and heart of people to not only do what they know they should, but desire these things--ultimately motivated by love. To LOVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE & LOVE LIFE.
Fear destroys and only brings guilt--love saves, transforms, reboots and brings real faith with real eternal change & benefits.
God wants to heal us and make us whole (mind, body & soul) and He came to accomplish through His mission of love. He is a loving father pursuing His lost children and bring them home. What people need is not more fear & guilt, what they need is radical, shocking, wasteful, divine love.
Read Part 2: Love Came To Earth--Love Alone Was Worth The Fight For God.
When thinking about the firestorm of all the media attention that Bieber has gotten, and all the jokes hitting the world wide web, it just never really sat right with me of how we as the collective human race were being entertained by someone's serious unraveling.
I wanted to say something, but at the same time didn't want to overreact or worse claim some judgement on those posting as though I have not been guilty myself of the same things.
Before I continue: I think Craig Ferguson says it best here, and a good blog post attached - take a look, it is a good one
So, if you don't plan on reading this post, check out that video.
Now, on we go.
I can see how it can be easy to make Bieber an target of such things, because he has always been an easy target when it comes to mockery. As well, it is easy to do so, because we have no connection to the young gentlemen. But, let us not forget, Justin is human just like you and me. Feels and hurts just like you and me. Has family who are worried sick about Justin, just like you and me. When people are made into social and pop icons, it becomes much to easy turn them into characters instead and forget, they have the fingerprint of God's creation on them, they are human, just like you and me.
Also, it worries me that we lose a bit of our humanity every time we give in to such things as this. We forget where we have come from and that we are all connected at the core. We unintentionally fuel hate and forget compassion and love. Should not the collective human race look more like Rescue Missions than Slaughter Houses? This concerns me because though it is all in 'good fun', it shows how disconnected to the reality that this is someones life. You know?
Now let me be clear, I am not dissolving Justin of his responsibility, we all need to be accountable for our actions. But what I wonder is, does this need to be made into entertainment for our eyes? And I must admit, I am guilty as the worst of them. I can see how this stuff can be twisted as funny, and I have found myself laughing on occasion, which I feel I must be the first to repent. So this is not me pointing the finger. This is simply a plea for us all to never forget when we interact with people, see stories on the news and read our news feed, our shared humanity with one another and always fight for LOVE.
Let us be people who run rescue missions, bring HOPE and LOVE into the world we live in. This is my prayer for this world and the hurting people in it. We could all use a little more of HOPE and LOVE, even Justin Bieber.
Just my two cents.
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