But Do You Believe In Love?
I talk to more and more people whose experiences have turned their hearts cold to the idea of God. And, when I hear more about their stories, I understand why.
It’s because the people who claim to speak for Him have been jerks. I’m sorry, but it’s true.
Sadly, an entire (huge) subculture formed around the idea that matching our interpretations of Scripture takes priority over taking care of the people He values (which is EVERY PERSON).
A third time [Jesus] asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.”
When we deeply study Jesus’s words, it’s undeniable that he tried desperately to help clear up our misunderstandings of what God is like. Over and over again, we read:
“You have heard it said… but I say…”
When we look at how Jesus treated people whom the religious community rejected, all those “go to” verses we thought were given to us as a rallying cry for cleaning people up on the outside give way to a much deeper, more powerful story.
‘We love each other because he loved us first.”
I John 4:19
When we read about how shocked the religious community was about the way Jesus treated outcasts, we are faced squarely with a decision about which part of that equation we want to be on.
“Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
I John 4:7-8 (NLT)
This is everything.
If this verse is true at all, God’s name can be used interchangeably with “LOVE.” Believing in Love - maybe even unknowingly - points us to belief in God. Whether or not you know someone’s name doesn’t make them less themselves. That’s even more true with the unchanging God of the universe. Love is the very proof of His existence in our lives — because we have seen what happens when humans place themselves in charge of Love.
Our minds, bodies and hearts cry out for perfect, safe, non-toxic Love. And humans disappoint us time and time again.
But if we can ever experience it for ourselves, everything else pales in comparison. Then we want more than anything to emulate it as much as humanly possible. We want to spread it like wildfire because we know it’s the best thing this life has to offer.
The thing is, Love isn’t fair. If it’s not just for a chosen few.
I used to wonder, “If Love is for everyone, then why try so hard to do the right thing and obey what Love requires of us?
Here’s the thing. Morality is good for US. It provides a great roadmap for taking the best possible care of ourselves, each other, and this amazing planet we’re living on.
Morality isn’t a measuring stick for how much love we are allowed to get. And we can only choose it for ourselves. We don’t get to police it for others.
Even if your experiences with God’s people have sent you running for the hills, we hope somehow, someday, you can know what’s true…
God = Love
Once we can accept that reality, it’s impossible not to believe.
Surrendering to Love means letting go of whatever misunderstandings have led us to think we are superior, or inferior. It means relinquishing the idea that we are more or less deserving of grace than the next person.
Maybe God barely even resembles much of the culture associated with Him, but Love is undeniable.
LOVE is literally woven into our DNA. (Psalm 139 is a beautiful poem about this.) Maybe that’s why it’s so hurtful when the Love we are created for is perverted into justification for shame, exclusion, snobbery and an inability (or unwillingness) to accept each other as-is.
When our fellow humans “play God” instead of “being Love” we end up missing the one thing that connects us to the Eternal Presence that dreamed us into existence.
Shame doesn’t come from God. Ever.
Even as far back as the Garden of Eden, shame was not God’s invention.
Shame comes from an evil place. Not from Love (God). And if you look at the fruit of shame, it is rotten every time. And it never produces anything but more of itself. Like mold, it just gets stinkier and darker with time.
There’s nothing spiritual about shame.
When we shame someone for not seeing things the way we do, not only is the lavish love of Jesus lost in translation, we actually take the work of the Spirit backwards.
Here at Love Better, we believe Divine Love can be trusted far more than people. THAT is where healing, connection and growth begin.
Love isn’t what happens after we get perfect. It’s what happens INSTEAD of getting perfect.