Love is a topic that is widely covered throughout the Bible. I know I’ve done a couple of post on it in the past couple of weeks, but it’s a topic worth covering multiple times, and then some more. It’s an extensive topic that I don’t think I will ever understand, but I’m ok with that. I believe that God, who created the universe, everything in it and love, is a whole lot smarter than I am. So here’s the little nugget that was revealed to me.
- Love is being patient with others as they walk through the process of life-change. Heart change comes before behavior change.
- Legalism (what most of America probably thinks of when they think of christians) is expecting others to change a behavior to fit a model. It offers no real change in the heart.
Now, don’t get me wrong. You are definitely there to show someone a path, to guide him, encourage her. Disciple also has its place and love does not go without it. Rebuking and reprimanding should not be lost, but must be done in love. Paul described this when he said that if we don’t have love, then we are only making noise. That is to say, without love, it’s worthless.
When I think of love vs. legalism, I think of the American Christian. In this context, legalism is living two lives. One six and a half days (Monday-Saturday & Sunday afternoon), and one Sunday mornings. Thinking we have to have it all together, many of us go to church with a mask on. We never let people see the real us. Maybe you have a good reason for the mask, I don’t really know but there is one.
Love on the other hand allows someone to live as him/herself. We’re allowed to be broken or express complete joy. We don’t need a mask to hide behind. I think this is where the most life change happens. It’s through love that chains are broken, wounds are healed, bondage is vanquished and so on.
Do you show this kind of love to someone? To let them mess-up, yet they don’t feel like they’ve completely let you down. To walk through difficult situations even though you don’t fully know what to say or do. Do you celebrate and cry with them?
Or another question – do you have a person like that in your life? One that’s walking through life with you. Always around. Always patient when you mess up, big or small. Willing to discipline you when you need it but also be one of your biggest cheerleaders when the chains get broken. If you don’t, I highly encourage it. It might be the one thing you’ve been needing.