Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Walking in love

I stopped watching the news about two years ago. I found myself at times overwhelmed by all the violence, hate, and destruction reported, analyzed and almost celebrated on our news channels and ultimately in our homes. The "news" often left me anxious, depressed and hopeless.  Now, there's nothing wrong with watching or reading the news; but, I have chosen not to begin and end my day with these (primarily ratings-driven) stories to protect my peace of mind.

Yet, as unimaginable acts of violence continue to pervade our family dinner tables and workplace halls, I realize that there is nowhere I can really run or hide from what is happening in the world today.  What I can do is refocus my attention

Violence is a direct result of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of others and ultimately fear that we are not enough. Yet, we know that the opposite of fear is love

Yes, love is the antidote.  Perfect love drives out fear.

being love

Now, bear with me. I know this sounds cliche. Some would say it's not realistic. What about what he/she did? What about the pain they caused. Justice should be done.  Evil must be rebuked.  Love? That's too easy. Too...spiritual?

Ironic given that many of the folks who have a problem with resolving violence through love consider themselves people of faith.

Yet, if we are going to really walk this walk, then we must defend Love.

So, rather than focusing on what is happening "out there" - and all the anger, fear, anxiety and judgment  I then direct into the world -- I can start to examine what is going on inside of me.
Love is not merely a word, a feeling or passive inaction.  Love is the foundation of our true selves.  And being Love is an everyday act of faith in God that we are who He says we are.
In Romans 12, Paul writes about love in action:
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor,serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 
Later, Paul writes that "[w]e who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. . . .  May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."

In 1 John 2, we are later cautioned that "[a]nyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.  Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.  But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them." Without love, we are walking blindly in the dark, stumbling, confused, afraid and wondering what has gone wrong with the world.

But I want to be in the light! In love, we are complete. Made perfect. In intimacy with God. Full of His Spirit.

Dear Lord, as we enter a new season, I pray that accept the truth of who we really are, which is the embodiment of Divine Love.  That we are strengthened to share that love fully, openly and courageously as we embody the example that You have set before us. That we accept each other, as one body, unified in Your name. Glorifying You always, Amen.

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