God is Love, but Love is not God.

I recently had a friend show me a comic that caught my attention.

Comic

As you can see, it depicts Jesus speaking to a crowd of His followers. His words rebuke them for using “scripture to determine what love means” instead of the reverse. Initially, this can seem like the kind of sappy sentiment that we’re supposed to ‘like’, share all over social media, and let speak for us in the culture. The only problem is that it is completely backward.

The problem is with love itself. God created it, and it was good, but like everything else it was mangled in the wreckage of the Fall. Everything, including love, was corrupted by the entry of sin into creation, a reality that often causes our natural attempts at love to be selfish, self-centered, and self-serving. The result is that in all creation, we know of love, we just don’t know what godly love is.

Before the Fall, Adam was relieved to have someone to spend his life with, and said, “at last.” (Genesis 2:23) After the Fall, Adam turns against her. He blames her for their sin while throwing her under the bus. Love toward God is also tainted. Cain kills Able out of jealousy because of a perceived slight in worship. He want’s God’s approval, but not enough to actually follow God’s words in Genesis 4. In just a few generations we see everything from polygamy and incest to choosing wives to spite parents. We know enough to worship, but refuse to worship the true God according to His prescribed methods. Love is no longer good as God created it.

It is only through His Word, the Scriptures, that we can begin to comprehend God’s design for love. I like the Christian Standard Bible’s treatment of John 3:16 because it makes Christ and His work an example of the selfless love God desires. If our understanding of love is fine, then there is no need for Paul to teach us that it is patient and kind in 1 Corinthians 13. But the truth is that human love is a sad distortion of its original design.

And so this comic is all wrong. It’s backward. We couldn’t know what godly love was until God, Himself, revealed it to us. To try to interpret His Word through the distorted sense of human love will always lead us askew. No. Even love needs redeemed, and is why humans deal with everything from pornography to adultery to same sex relationships. Our love is all wrong apart from God, which is why we should remember the He is love, but love cannot be our god.

I believe that if Jesus were to stand in front of those followers today, He would not rebuke them for being unloving. I believe He would stretch out His nail-scared hands and offer to show them what true love looks like as He began with Moses and all the Prophets, to interpret for them all the things concerning himself in the Scriptures. And in sharing the gospel, He would probably clarify with His previous choice of words, “God loved the world in this way…”

Abortion is wrong...but so are you.

I wasn’t really sure what to call this post. In truth, I wasn’t sure I should write this post. Then I realized that this is my blog, I can write it (not that “can” always equals “should”), and the thought isn't going away. So, here we are.

Like many in the church, I have been keeping an eye on the blatant disregard for life being celebrated in our culture. I can’t believe that a civilized society could get so excited over death, especially the death of the unborn. Yet, we saw the elated smiles, the colorful light show, and the conservative rage that followed.

It is to those outraged conservatives that I am writing. Yes, abortion is wrong, but so are many of you.

The problem that I see is that too many expressing their outrage over abortion at the moment seem to only care about the political arena. Now, I don’t have a problem with political discussion. We need to be politically active. My problem is that many people seem to keep their outrage focused on the political side of the issue while real world application goes unnoticed. In other words, while political outcry over abortion grows louder, I have been receiving calls and texts about children living in my community that are in need. Where is the outpouring of concern for them?

You see, our family began a journey last year to do something about the need around us. We went through training and have become foster parents. The process is still opening my eyes, and it has changed the way I see moral outrage. While conservatives and liberals banter over the politics of life, real children need homes. Real families need help. Real lives are at risk.

We currently have a foster son who is fantastic. We don’t pressure him to talk about his past, and I get a little apprehensive over not knowing all the details of the future, but all the details of the future aren’t really the need. The need is this moment. It’s not perfect, and we’re still figuring it out, but at least we know he is being cared for. I can’t say the same for the other children we receive calls and texts about. Unfortunately, we’re only able to care for him and our biological children right now, but the need is great.

If this is an issue about the sanctity of life, then what about the lives all around you in need of help? My question to you, outraged conservative, is what are you going to do about the need in your own back yard? Share a Facebook post? Vote Republican? Tell me, how is that helping the kid down the street today that needs a home, a meal, a family that loves them? By all means, share your social media. Absolutely show up to the polls and vote your conscience, but, I beg you, be outraged enough to actually do something.

What would our communities look like if our churches did more than lament? What if we invested in the lives of children in need around us while also fighting for the rights of the unborn?