Sunday, March 3, 2019

The heart of a disciple.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13:34-35

Of all the things Jesus could have said here, he used love as a qualifier. Yet, I believe what he did not say here is just as revealing as what he did say. He did not say everyone will know that you are my disciples by your doctrine, your logic, or even your holiness. The very things that the unloving put front and center I might add. I'm sure that Jesus understood that we are emotional creatures. Knowing this he realized that facts, figures, and reasonable arguments have little effect on us if they don't affirm our feelings first.

We see this concept playing out on social media continually. People are searching for and sharing data, and arguments on every issue that is convenient for them, in service of their own comfort. Yet it's all quickly dismissed without a second thought by those who feel different. Yet, the dismissing people are engaging in the same futile behavior, with identical results. Both sides expect their brand of logic to change everything, but in the end it never changes anything. Reason only has value to emotional beings if it serves our feelings first.

Jesus was trying to tell us that love can conquer and break through where logic does not. Yet, why does the church routinely forsake love for logic, reason, and doctrine? Maybe because while we all want to be loved, to love others means putting our emotions in a vulnerable position. Apparently, there is more to this qualifier of love than we give it credit for.

The Visual PARABLEist

“There is a simple reason I never listened to street preachers: they didn’t seem to care about me. It wasn’t that they were annoying. I found their passion admirable, and I appreciated people who stood up for what they believed. Rather, it was that they treated me like an object of their agenda. Did they have any idea how their message would impact my life? Did they even care? . . . Unfortunately, I have found that many Christians think of evangelism the same way, foisting Christian beliefs on strangers in chance encounters. The problem with this approach is that the gospel requires a radical life change, and not many people are about to listen to strangers telling them to change the way they live. What do they know about others’ lives? . . . Effective evangelism requires relationships, there are very few exceptions.” - Nabeel Qureshi, Seeking Allah, finding Jesus

A person facing a hole in the road right along the center live
click to enlarge