“This is amazing grace. This is unfailing love.”
I let the words wash over me as I worshipped and starting thinking about the truly amazing nature of that grace. About a love that is so undeserved, yet so extravagant. When I stop and ponder the depth and passion of the grace and love of Jesus, of what He did, I find myself with a desire to run into the street Oprah style; “YOU get grace, YOU get love, YOU get grace!”
Our culture seems focused so much these days on setting each other straight, on being right. We in the Church are not immune. We constantly debate theological matters in ways that don’t really honor or love one another at all. There is a place for questioning, for standing up for what’s right and for holding each other accountable. Jesus did all of those things. But every time I see Christ doing that in scripture (or anything else, for that matter) I see Him being extravagant with love and grace. It’s who He is. Scripture reminds us that God *is* love. If I’m supposed to walk out a life that models and honors that of Jesus, how can I do anything that isn’t drenched in love.
As I write this, I’m thinking of places that might contradict this thought. What about His interactions with the Pharisees? What about when He flipped the tables in the temple? What about the scriptures that talk about the need for and benefits of discipline? I think my response is that those things *were* love. It is His love for the people that were being disregarded or led astray by those Pharisees that caused rebuke. It was his jealous love for the Pharisees themselves, the love that wanted them to come back to Him and His truth, as well. It is that same jealous love for his children that is the basis for His discipline. He wants us so very much, all of us.
Scripture tells us that it is His kindness that leads to repentance. He is a holy God who deserves our praise and our worship. Understanding the extravagance of His love doesn’t lead to anarchy and debauchery. On the contrary, He says himself that it’s what draws us to turn from our sinful ways. So it makes sense that Jesus said it would be our love for each other that would tell the world that we belong to Him. He loves us into sanctification, so why do we think we could or should do anything differently toward the world around us.
Let’s be known for our love. Let’s dole it out like candy. Let’s tell the world that we’re not concerned about being right, about being safe, about staking our claim. Let’s be like Jesus and lead with love.
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:35
“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” -Romans 2:4