Love overrides all…

‘“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”’ John 8:4-11

Can you even imagine the scene? This woman who was caught in the act of adultery was likely dragged out of bed naked or maybe partially naked and thrown into the dirt and called out for her sin in front of a crowd. She was probably scared; mortified, felt completely exposed in more ways than one and possibly repentant. Who knows what kind of life she lived up until this point. Maybe she was a prostitute or had been sexually abused at a tender age, forever impacting how she viewed sex. We don’t know but one thing we do know, Jesus treated her with dignity in a terribly undignified situation.

I like to think that Jesus was writing in the sand as a sign of His lack of interest in the Pharisee’s antics. I like to think there was an eye roll in there somewhere too. He already knew what they were doing before they even brought the woman to Him. His answer was spoken to them in a language they could understand, the law. But His answer to the woman was given through grace.

” For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:17

” God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.” 1 John 4:17-19 MSG

Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn it and if we have the same standing in this world as He did, then why are we running around hitting people over the head with the Bible? Why are we getting into arguments with each other about doctrine? Didn’t Jesus tell us to love one another, so that others will know that we are His disciples, His friends? Why is the church so dang mean? Why do we judge others? Why do we shut them out? Why do we not include them because they are different? Or are caught up in an addiction or a lifestyle that may be considered less than savory? Why!? We aren’t here to judge either! If we judge, we are driven by fear and if we fear, love is not perfected in us. If Jesus didn’t judge, then nor shall I! Did you not know that love covers over a multitude of sins? Love raises others up out of muck they are in. Love puts a smile on a persons face and reminds them that they are valued. Can you imagine the impact you can have on people if you just do the very thing Jesus called us to do, love others? Can you see the smiling faces? The filthy coats that will be shed because someone was loved back to life?

I can remember not feeling loved or accepted, it was an awful feeling. The enemy hisses in your ear that you’re not valued and that the world would be a better place without you. It is a heavy burden to feel so low and unloved, or worse, unlovable! There are people out there who have never felt loved, never had someone ask their name, or pay them a compliment. There are people who aren’t even treated like a human being, with a real beating heart in their chest, just like you and I! That is a horrid, horrid truth to consider but it is a fact! And because we have God living within us, we have the distinct honor of loving people. Not just certain people but all people!

We are the church! This isn’t someone else’s problem, it is ours! This is our commission. This is our privilege, our honor. This isn’t a burden or “our cross to bear,” it is an honor. Papa is love and because He loved us first, we have the ability to love others.

Allow your compassion run wild. Let your love set fires in hearts, in communities and in the world! I would rather die and have God tell me that I loved too much, rather than loving too little!

Yeah but what about this scripture that says this, and this scripture that says that!? Just love, pure and simple love. Judgement isn’t our job, just love. We can take and piece together scripture to support our agendas and leave a whole trail of destruction behind us, as the church has already done. I don’t want to hear another story about someone who went to church and got hurt or shut out. It took an awful lot of courage for those people to walk through those church doors after their last bad experience and we’ve gone and done it to them again? Love is of the utmost importance, Jesus said it is the highest command. It isn’t our place to determine if they “deserve it,” just love them. Don’t expect anything in return, just love them.

Papa is so good to have already filled our hearts unto over flowing, now we just have to get out there and let it spill out all over the place! Throw love around like glitter, make the whole world around you sparkle! Let His glory shine through you! Oh man, what a beautiful thing! I am so psyched right now, love, plain and simple, endless love!

God bless you all, I hope this fired you up too, to get out there and just love on others. You won’t run out, you won’t grow tired and your life will be far from boring! Let’s light the world on fire with love!

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Who do they see when they see you?

“Let them see you, In me
Let them hear you, When I speak
Let them feel you, When I sing
Let them see you
Let them see you in me” Song; Let them see you, JJ Weeks band.

When the road is hard and long and you have been waiting forever for your breakthrough, what comes out of you? When you are among other people, are you kind and patient and loving? When a friend is down on their luck, do you encourage them and give them a hand up? 

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:46-48

If you allow this scripture to sink in, it will guide you in the art of loving like Christ. What risk is there, being loving toward strangers? If we know who we are in Christ and know that our Papa loves us, there is no sense of rejection. If we can’t even manage to welcome people from outside our church into the 4 walls we call church, how are we any different than the rest of the world? People go to church every week looking for the answer to the age old question; why am I alive? The physical building of the church can lead someone to that answer. But they have to feel welcome there. Church isn’t a country club for the elite saved folks, it’s a hospital for the once sick, in process of recovery! We are all in process. Never think so highly of yourself, that you have arrived, you are changing and evolving and growing just like the rest of us. I certainly don’t want to go somewhere, where I feel like I have to try and fit in. I already should fit in because we are brothers and sisters in Christ and that is enough. If you think there is more than that to qualify, then that thought pattern needs to be thrown out.

You have what it takes to be like Jesus, more than you may comprehend. You already are like Jesus, He lives within you, His spirit moves and breathes within you. Allow His warmth to wrap around others and love on them. Allow His peace to permeate wherever you are. Let His words leave your lips and fall upon the ears of those around you. The people around you are dying to see Him, you may be the only Bible someone reads. It is more in how you conduct yourself, than it is in what you say. The Pharisees were the holiest of holy but Jesus had bones to pick with them at every turn. They talked an awful lot and kept themselves quite cleaned up but the conditions on their hearts and their motives stunk. We don’t want to be found to be anything like them.

Throw love and kindness around like glitter! You’ll never run out and it doesn’t matter if you ever receive it back because Papa sees what you do and He will surely reward you well.

I hope this encouraged someone today. I know it’s a hard line but it hurts to hear about people trying out church and leaving saying they will never return. For someone who doesn’t know Papa yet, that’s a difficult situation. They went looking for something and allowed themselves to be vulnerable enough to go and somewhere along the line, they were let down. Heck, I’ve recently had some less than stellar church experiences but I know who Papa is, so I’m not discouraged. I’m sad about it, sure and it needs to change but we will continue our search for our new church home. It just won’t be the places we have already gone. I don’t want a red carpet but I do hope to see love for Jesus and love for your fellow believer. You can’t really have one without the other. Jesus did tell us, to love one another as I have loved you. If we miss that target, we’ve missed everything. God bless you all.