Love is Always Right

Love is Always Right

18 Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.19 And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20 whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22 and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

23 And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

I John 3:18-24

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In Josh McDowell’s book, “Love is Always Right”, he said that when faced with a moral dilemma, we should choose to do the most loving thing. And even if we chose unwisely, it will be because we loved too much and not too little.

It seems that our world and our culture is changing at an exponential rate. What if we asked ourselves, “What is the most loving response and action in this situation?” instead of “What is the most moral or right thing to do?”

Jesus was once asked what is the greatest commandment and He replied that it is to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind. And, even though no one asked Him, He quickly followed with the second greatest commandment which is to love our neighbor as ourselves. These two commandments cannot be separated and we love God by loving others and we love others by loving God. They must be spoken together in one breath and thought of together as one great directive.

Jesus said that all the Law is fulfilled by obeying these two commandments. He later increased the stakes by saying that we should love our enemies. Loving our enemies require tremendous wisdom and strength. These commandments are not for the faint of heart or for the half-hearted disciple. But it is the right thing to do and God is only asking us to do something that He Himself was very willing to do.

Imagine how radically different public debate would be if we chose to do the most loving thing. What is the most loving response to our current issues of assisted suicide? Of gay rights and gender identity? Of ISIS and Islamaphobia? Or new sex education guidelines for Ontario? Or new health ministry rules for refugees and immigrants?

If we choose the most loving stance, it will change public discourse. It might even change how the world sees us. It might let others see Christ in us.

Submitted by Caroline W.

Subjective and Objective Realities

My brilliant young nieces consider themselves scientific, rational and logical and they scorn those other people whose beliefs are based on faith.

One day I asked them how did they know the earth revolved around the sun? Every morning the sun rises from the east and it sets in the west.

It took them a while but they realized that they know this truth because someone in authority told them this is how the universe works. And this person ought to know the truth and she had no reason to lie to them. And so they believed.

That day, my nieces encountered the difference between subjective and objective realities. Einstein said we should describe motion with respect to the observer and we’re all earth bound observers. From our perspective, the sun revolves around the earth. We speak of sunrises and sunsets. An observer outside the solar system (God) would see that the planets of our solar system revolve around the sun.

Today at bible study, I retold the story and Pastor Ian asked me to post it here. We were wrestling with the idea that Jesus has saved everybody but not everyone is saved. Objectively, we are all saved. That is God’s point of view. It is finished, our Savior cried at the cross. Subjectively, not everyone knows it.

God’s word of reconciliation to the world is “I love you and you have sinned.” It is love and judgment in the same breath. In order to fully receive His presence and love, we must accept His judgment.

The other concept we were wrestling with was judgment as salvation. If we were not judged, we would not know we were wrong. And if we did not know we were wrong, we could not change.

Pastor Ian emphasized that one day, God’s judgment will fix all that is wrong with this world and with ourselves. It is not about punishment and destruction. Perfect justice is about redemption, reconciliation and restoration.

At 9 pm, he released us back into the wild – mentally drained – with the final exhortation to be that reality to our world.

Submitted by Caroline W.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for your love and salvation. We accept You as our Saviour and ask that you continue to cleanse us of our sins. Help us Lord to reach out to others that they may know that objectively they are saved. In Jesus name we pray.

 

Stones of Remembrance

When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. They said to Samuel, “Do not stop crying out to the LORD our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.”… While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the LORD thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites. ..
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”

So the Philistines were subdued and they stopped invading Israel’s territory.
[1 Samuel 7: 7-8, 10, 12-13 NIV]

In the second verse of the hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” is the phrase, “Here I raise my Ebenezer, Here by Thy great help I’ve come.”

Whenever we reflect back on our lives, we can remember times when we too can say, just as Samuel and the Israelites said, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” All those moments need to be memorialized with an Ebenezer. Mine are lines written inside a bible even though Ebenezers are technically stones of remembrance. I think if I had a garden, I would plant a stone for each event, turning the highlights of my life into a path of God’s faithfulness and goodness.

The words I have written inside my bible re-tells my story to me and I have found that I need to be reminded of this story. It must stand out above all the other narratives I tell myself about me. When I look over what I have written through the years, I am often surprised by how much I manage to forget. My Ebenezers stay as fixed points against the moving tide of time.

It is never too late to raise up an Ebenezer and acknowledge our Father’s presence and help in our lives. The birth of a child. The death of a parent. That victory. That spectacular defeat. The long awaited goal achieved after years of struggle. That devastating error that ruined years. The times when we could say we are truly loved and blessed. The times when what we feared most over took us. We make these turbulent times concrete by raising Ebenezers and reaffirming: My God helped me. I am who I am because of what happened and because He held on to me.

We need to grow a garden of stones of remembrance.

Carolyn W.