This morning I had a deepening conversation with Jeff. I was saddened, overwhelmed and heavy over yesterday. Over how divisive brokenness can be and over how so many become misunderstood, when really it can be a vessel for unity as lovers of the Lord.
And Jeff reminded me, the internet creates quite a lens, a filter and a scope where love can be missed or subjectively removed.
So, we pray. And we invite every one to do the same with us.
People speaking hard things lead to words like unloving and hateful, where if you sat down with these friends over coffee I’m hopeful you’d hear the love spilling out of *most of* their hearts and see the love in their eyes… even as the harder things are shared or raised up.
I’ve seen scripture quoted in many corners and becoming very hazy and spurring defense–but Jesus isn’t hazy–and that’s where we can find peace. As the song and scripture says, the cross has the final word.
And we have to remember what the cross means, why Christ was put there in the first place, the big picture of His word, and what living in the love of that gift looks like for us now.
How it transforms us and the way He asks for us to live and see the world as it changes.
I encourage you to read Ephesians as it’s brought much clarity to my wrestling this weekend, and many of my friends as we’ve marco-ed and texted and processed, deeper than the Superbowl.
The whole thing is very beautiful, take a peek when you get a moment. Not all scripture feels good, but all of scripture is packed full of forever hope.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the righteous anger of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things they do. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, ‘Awake O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ — Ephesians 5:6-14
When people who love Christ speak from their hearts against what is dark, sinful or broken, or against that thing that stirs something deep within their spirit that is connected intimately to the Father, they are often marked as hateful and judgmental.
If you believe God’s word is His word, finding life there and in the cross,
Then you will find a Father of both justice & grace.
Of both hard truthfulness & compassion.
You will find a Father who calls us out of darkness & into glorious light!
Who grieves for our sin and has made a life-way for whole.
Who asks us to make disciples and to live set apart.
But beyond that — what the world doesn’t like to look at — His word also says that
when we know light, we are called to expose darkness.
It isn’t comfortable.
It isn’t popular.
It doesn’t feel good.
It can sting.
We can physically hurt.
Our emotions can run too high.
It beckons living different.
It feels foreign.
And being light in light
is much easier than being the light contrasting dark,
but that’s not what light was made for.
I feel that with you,
the tension is there.
It does not mean we hate people.
It does not mean we are sinless ourselves.
It does mean that we hate what is sinful,
It does mean that we love people deeply out of truth,
It does mean that worldly sin makes us grieve and move differently.
It does mean that out of God’s love, we name the things that break His heart, and make light shine brighter than the dark things of the world that are deceitful and pain-bearing, so that many more may know Him.
It does mean that living in fellowship will at times look like wrapping broken up in hope and reproval — both can coexist in love.
Some of the most beautiful friendships in my life are those friends who have led me out of dark corners, who have exposed the ungodly in me by being light, who have showed me truth where I was misled and pulled back layers in my heart I didn’t know were there.
The half time show stirred something deep within the hearts of many believers.
For some it didn’t phase them or feel wrong. Cultural relativity, entertainment, etc. In my personal opinion, the world has become desensitized where our Father’s heart is very sensitive to it, and God’s heart is explosively for us to bring holy into a hurting earth home.
It made many very uncomfortable, it caused a physical response, it triggered immense pain for those of sexual victimization, it led some marriages to look inward at the home where gospel love & truth starts, it made many mothers and fathers weep for their children and the world they are in, it turned eyes away and voices into conversation.
Not because of who but because of what.
And for many, it didn’t, there will always be contrasting views.
The same is true for many other subject areas in the world today though,
And the internet hears all about it, right?
This whole thing is much bigger than the Superbowl.
These things exist every day, and divide us every day.
My heart, like many others yesterday, was this — .
I am a sinner saved by grace,
Thank you, Lord!
But because of the cross, I am transformed to live as a light-bearer, not just a light-keeper.
Because I know the merciful and gracious gift of God’s eternal love, He calls us into loving and compassionate reproving of sin in those we love.
I cannot expect the world to change for my sons, if I’m not willing to take a stand.
I cannot expect for them to avert, turn and be sensitive to the sinful patterns of the world, if I’m not using my mama-shaping to stand boldly in what is God’s truth.
I cannot help them discern what is dark, if I don’t steward my light as a beacon.
I won’t always get it right.
Sometimes I’ll speak too far out of heart,
Sometimes I’ll say too little.
Sometimes my beacon will be just right as He wanted.
And sometimes I’ll miss what was so very clear, because I’m human.
The nature of the lens is, we’ll never do it quite right for people.
But I encourage you today, to really see your friends, the ones you know love Jesus and want to love like Him, who are drawing a line of light.
What society suggests at every social turn –to point out brokenness, reveal transforming truth, to show dark in the world and to call for change– is not hateful speech… though it can be done hatefully and human hearts can easily get in the way… for most of us though, it is a courageous act of genuine love because we love, because He has sent Love on the cross, because we’ve been made new.