Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pride and Love

 We should never discount love as the greatest tool to win hearts to Christ. Our love for people should be our wordless proof of faith. Without love, we surely have only pride which was the very cause of Satan's fall. Sadly, these two, though opposites (love being submission of the 'self' in order to elevate others, whereas pride, not hate, is the glorification of the 'self' in order to put down others), can tread a very thin line.
 Allow me to quote the second verse of a song much more eloquent on the subject than i could ever hope to be ("Failing In Love" by Cool Hand Luke).
"Would you tell me if you knew that I was dying,
Some sort of parasite that got into my brain?
Would I tell you that I thought that you were lying,
Ignoring evidence, ignoring all the pain?
There’s too much sugar, too much water."
 In the first verse, Mr. Nicks (the lyricist/vocalist) even goes so far as to say that if we don't speak the truth, if we don't proclaim the whispers in our ears from the rooftops, we have become the enemy of those perishing, not by saying the unsaved are dying.
 In that second verse, love takes an entirely new light, one where we plead with people for caution.

 Instead of tolerance for sin, we have an urgency. We must not lose tolerance for people, but culture is entirely different. We can love individuals and still remain vehemently opposed to the culture they come from--that we come from. More often than not, anger towards society is seen as self-righteous and hypocritical. After all, who hasn't sinned? Christ alone.
 If hypocrisy is about me, it is born of fury against the state of society. I am not claiming to be perfect. God knows how terribly flawed and vile i have been and am. It's human nature.
 If i am a garden, and Song of Songs says i am, and God is a Gardener, and i think He is, and my flesh is a weed, and i know it is, i must apologize for how busy He must be from pulling weeds.

 Love, again, i say is our surest vessel of bringing hope to a world dying. Love is what caused the men in Jerusalem to "sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed [there]" (Ezekiel 9:4). These men are the ones who were not sentenced to execution. These men received a mark on their foreheads (perhaps like the seal of God on the foreheads of those who were to remain untouched mentioned in Revelation 9?).
 Love scarcely comes without a word of caution. In fact, it's not a great dare to say most acts of love are a word of caution.
 So here is a word of caution to those who are in Christ: Weep. Mourn. Rend garments in your sorrow for the souls who do not know the hope that lies in you.
 A word of caution to those not in Christ: "Go and sin no more." We (Christians) do not condemn you because we are all as guilty as you; we are forgiven, and beg of you to turn from your sin and ask forgiveness from God as well.
 Condemning a person's sin is not condemning a person, and this brings me back to the first paragraph.

 Love and pride sometimes walk so close together as to be confused with one another, and we must daily kill our pride lest our love become self-motivated and, therefore, prideful. It is easy to condemn the sin as though we had never committed the same. It's easy to confuse the sinner with the sin. This is where love and pride are contrasted; love is the desire to see someone become like Christ, pride is the desire to see someone become like us. I do not parrot the boldness of Paul by saying, "Imitate me," for i know my sins and shame (i would, however, when he calls himself bolder in written word than face-to-face). I would rather point to Christ's actions in my life through God's children, and say, "Imitate them." This may be shucking responsibility, but i have a lot harder time resolving myself to sin than God has absolving me . . . Actually, it was much more difficult and painful for God to absolve me of sins. I know because i know what Christ looked like on the cross, bearing no longer any human likeness or semblance. And i know that's what i should look like. This creates a great well of sadness in me, matched only by gratitude.

 Pride and love are often hard to tell apart when it comes from Christians. With that said, woe to those who would use Christ for their own gain, for their reward has already come, and they have stored up treasures not in Heaven but in Hell.
 For them, we should surely pray.

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