This is a short summary of a sermon I preached at a Revival in Miami.
The message is titled, “A Dangerous, Reckless, Upside-Down Love” and can be found here.
The hard truth is that our hearts naturally hate God and hate people.
Before you get mad at me, the concept of biblical hate is not an emotion, but murder, as in, I don’t want this person around anymore.
Before you get more mad at me: we can easily compartmentalize God to fit in certain areas of our life (or not at all), which is essentially murdering Him. In the same way, there are at least a few people we know we’d rather never be around, and might not even be sorry if they were dead. This is hate.
Jesus smashes these categories at the cross since he came to love every single person in the universe. He calls us to do the same.
If we deny the hate in our hearts, it will control us for the rest of our lives. If we marginalize the homeless, homosexuals, drug addicts, felons, and foreigners, then this will affect how we handle our children and our future generation.
There are three things to remember about loving one another.
1) Love is the Ultimate Reality.
In John 13:34, Jesus instructs love as a command. A command is not so much a rule as it is God’s Vision. God knows how we work and what’s best for us. As difficult as it is, loving people always leads to our greatest good, the maximum possible joy, and God’s highest glory.
Without love, nothing we do matters. Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 gives a long list of great traits — singing like angels, unchartable IQ, predicting the future, mountain-breaking faith, donating to every charity, and martyring yourself in a fire — but without love, none of these things matter anyway.
2) Love always entails forgiveness.
If we know we’ve been shown grace, we give grace. Those who are forgiven much will love much (Luke 7:47).
In John 13, Jesus washes the feet of his disciples, who would all leave him. Two would betray him: Peter and Judas. Yet Jesus preempted their betrayal and factored that into his love for them.
Any time we might think, “This person doesn’t deserve my grace” — we never deserved it either. If we can’t imagine washing a certain person’s feet, then we must remember that Jesus washed our feet first.
Real love includes a forgiveness that cuts through pain. Forgiveness is tough and at times nonsensical. But again, forgiveness is God’s Vision for us for our good, because it’s a choice to remove the knife of our wounds.
3) Love in action always entails the truth.
Love is not absolutely blind. As 1 Corinthians 13 says, love rejoices in the truth.
That means we practice wisdom in love. If you’re being used and abused, call the police. If someone takes advantage of you, keep a distance. Love does not enable sin.
Love also considers the whole story. We don’t let half the facts inform all the facts. When we sit down with someone over coffee for an hour and hear everything, we can cut past the misinformation and really get to love them.
Love also considers the Truth of God’s Love. We won’t get this whole love-thing correctly every time. Even on the way home from church, we could lose it on someone and revel in guilt. It’s then we remember: God has shown us grace, He still loves us, He’s still rooting for us, and we can repent and get up again.
“Trust that even when you mess this up, you walk out from here and you just lose it on somebody, and right afterwards you feel that guilt — ‘The pastor just preached on that!’ — just remember: God still loves you, God understands your struggle, God accepts you exactly as you are, God has cast all your sins into the ocean of forgiveness, and He is still rooting for you. He loves you. And He’s going to keep loving you to a better place. It’s God’s unchanging heart that will change your heart. So if you mess up this whole thing, I’m just telling you: it’s okay. Recompose, regroup, don’t stay in that guilt. That’s where Satan would love you to stay. Just stand up and God’s going to keep saying, ‘Get up again, get up again, let’s do this again.’ God’s going to keep rooting for you, and He will never stop loving you.”
— from J.S.
For the whole sermon, click here.