Wednesday, May 28, 2014

God Is Love

 Let's address something real quick; God is love.
 That's become such a cliche phrase that i'm almost tired of hearing it (if that were even possible). The saying itself is truly undeniable. It's not the quote that i'm tired of hearing. It's the context. The context is modern. And, like almost all thoughts modern, it disturbs me.
 To understand love, we should also look at pride. Many would think hate is the antonym, but it's actually pride. I honestly believe the Spirit revealed that to me a year or so ago, and the more i read and know of love, the more i understand that it is true.

 To love something is to put it first in your life--or at least hold it in high regard (to submit in humility). If you love someone or something, you do what's best for them. If you love someone, you sacrifice some (or all) of your comfort for them. If you love someone, you raise them above yourself. If you love someone, you keep no record of wrongs,
 To be prideful is to hold the image of self above all things. Hate is a symptom, but the disease itself is always pride; it is a desire for having your own way (Ever had someone cut you off in traffic? Or how about someone who feels it's their right to meddle in your life? Obviously, your own life is worth so much more than theirs, your time and comfort invaluable by comparison . . . At least that's what i tell myself under such circumstances, and this is a definition of pride, and hate being a single thread of it). The love of money, even, as the "root of all evils," is, again, pride; a craving for more for yourself.

 The reason it's so important to understand pride, though, is because to support one thing is to oppose another. That's just a fact, and it will make enemies.
 And discipline -how beautiful is the Latin root, discipulus!- is not hate, nor is it pride. Discipline, true and honest in method and motive, is a form of love. In fact, Solomon once said of it, that, "Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him." This is because a lack of discipline allows a child to wander a path that the parent knows leads to destruction. How do you keep a child from playing in the street? Incessantly warn them not to, and discipline them when they do. You train them. You disciple them. And then, when they are old, they will teach their children, God-willing, to also not play in the street. This is not cruel, this is love. And this is precisely what God does to us.
 Regard your endurance as discipline; God is dealing with you as sons. For what son goes undisciplined by his father? All legitimate sons undergo discipline; so if you don’t, you’re a mamzer (literally: bastard) and not a son! Furthermore, we had physical fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them; how much more should we submit to our spiritual Father and live! For they disciplined us only for a short time and only as best they could; but he disciplines us in a way that provides genuine benefit to us and enables us to share in his holiness. Now, all discipline, while it is happening, does indeed seem painful, not enjoyable; but for those who have been trained by it, it later produces its peaceful fruit, which is righteousness. (Hebrews 12:7-11, CJB)
 This is why modern ideas disturb me. We have forsaken a selfless and true definition for love and replaced it with, tolerance. If we don't tolerate a behavior, people inevitably think we hate them. When you see someone smoking, if you truly care for them, you will tell them the undeniable, common-sense truth, "That will kill you." That's not bigotry, it's care.
 Now, there are several responses, but a common one is, "I'm trying to quit." Sorry, but you'll quit in due time, either because you died, or else because you heeded logic for a change. Yes, it's an addictive drug, but when does an addiction trump life? When you love it. When you love self to the point of pride, and you ignore the feelings of those who love you (in other words, you cease to love them, at least more than you love yourself).
 Another common reaction is excessive defense, even to the point of becoming offensive. This is the world's reaction to hearing that sin is doing the same thing to their spirit; they get bitter. Do you think that when i was stuck in an addiction to sin, i enjoyed hearing that it was killing my soul? Of course not. I hated (read: prided myself over...) that kind of message--but it is the Gospel of Christ that says, "Go and sin no more," that led me to repentance. It was discipline that allowed me to become a disciple (two words that are, quite literally, joined at the roots).

 I'm all for growth and maturity, and even the evolution of ideas, but at a point we must start over, get back to the basics, stop worrying about offending people--the Lord does offend people. If He didn't, He'd not have been executed. If He didn't offend people, none would hate their sins enough to come to legitimate repentance.
 That wasn't a pass to be malicious, but it was an example of how the world will see us, and we must give no credence to the threats and preoccupations of man. For what can man do, after all, but kill the body? This is the beginning of wisdom, that we fear the One who is able to destroy our bodies and throw our souls into Gehenna.

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