9-24-2017 To Love or Not to Love

FROM THE PASTOR

September 24, 2017

 

This started out to be the most mysterious “From the Pastor” I’ve been impressed to write to date. To be honest when I started, I wasn’t even sure why God was pressing me to write these words. So, I began by examining myself because it seems that before I share with you, the message is frequently aimed at me first. And yes, it was. In fact, it was a little private and still, I thought you might benefit by listening.

 

It’s not always easy to stand firm according to God’s Word. I run into that struggle all the time as a Pastor. Does that sound odd or surprising? If so, please, don’t judge me or be surprised or think me peculiar. In fact, my experience confirms that most Pastors are gifted with God-given compassion at their calling which sometimes seems to facilitate this conflict. Odd? Maybe. Yet, I know that compassion is an entrusted gift because I wasn’t born with it to the level, I now experience. That is until I surrendered to God’s call. No, I am not blaming God.

 

Yet, this struggle isn’t just a “pastor” thing. I’m convinced that we all experience the conflict between tolerating (let’s call it what it is) ‘sin’ in the lives of those we LOVE and confronting those which conflicts with God’s RIGHTEOUSNESS. In fact, my experience tells me that we do our best to excuse the tolerance away. I could give you my list of excuses, but I have a feeling it’s already similar to your list and you know it already. As I consider this conflict, I am impressed that perhaps the issue is that we just don’t really understand what LOVE is. 1 Corinthians 13 frames LOVE this way…

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (NASB)
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails;

 

Do you see it?? LOVE is NOT just an EMOTION… TRUE LOVE is ACTION. Yet we become so locked up in the EMOTIONAL side of LOVE we miss this important fact. According to this passage ACTION LOVE is caring so much that we instinctively ACT in the pursuit of RIGHTEOUSNESS, regardless of personal cost. Paul summarizes this LOVE by saying, “LOVE NEVER FAILS”. Still, compassion often overrides action.

 

Most of us would lay down our lives for someone we LOVE… the majority, in a heartbeat. We know that it was sin that separated man from God’s RIGHTEOUSNESS in the first place. We also know that Christ’s RIGHTEOUSNESS is the only reconciliation to that separation. In fact, we depend on that RIGHTEOUSNESS as our salvation’s security when surrendering ourselves to Him. So, why do we pray and work so earnestly to see someone come to salvation and then fall silent when we see sin creeping back into lives? I believe it’s because LOVE too often becomes an EMOTION and ceases to be an ACTION.

 

So, let me ask, “What happens when we allow the EMOTION OF LOVE to override GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS”? And why do we put GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS into second place when it becomes conflicted with the EMOTION OF LOVE? Especially since we know that GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS is the only PERFECT solution in any situation. Do we not want PERFECTION in the lives of those we LOVE? So why the silence? Oh, yes, … I remember, our list of excuses…

But understand, sin limits God in His pursuit to bless abundantly. Confronting sin in the lives of those we LOVE does not mean that we elevate ourselves above them. In fact, confronting sin always begins with self-examination. Only when we are confident in our own RIGHTESS STAND with God do we even dare enter the conflict with LOVE’S ACTION.

God impressed on me… INACTION is not acceptable where LOVE abounds.

 

Thank You for your faithfulness! Pastor Larry

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