I woke up today feeling like a baby elephant was sitting on my chest. I started crying the moment I got out of bed.
Sometimes you just need to do that … cry.
This world will break your heart. There is so much injustice. So much pain. Some of it is personal. Some of it comes from being touched by the pain of others.
This was both.
Pain is an inevitable part of life. But what really discourages my heart is avoidable pain–especially the pain that comes from the body of Christ devouring its own. We want to build big churches, but tear down people in our desperate attempts to get there. We cast big visions, but fail to see the one standing right in front of us. We preach big sermons with big ideals, but live out something very, very different.
Hypocrisy in the church isn’t new. It’s been around from the beginning. And it’s a HUGE distraction from what we are really called to do …
Which is love.
And because are called to love, that means I must love. To be honest, I’m struggling with that today. I tend to forgive pretty quickly when I’m the only one who has been wronged, but when it involves other people sometimes the “mama bear” in me gets stirred up and, well, lets just say it’s a little harder.
But … Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
His love never fails.
And once again, that’s where I land. His love never fails. My love fails. Others fail me and those I love. We do hurt each other. But His love never fails.
As I’m writing this, it’s Martin Luther King Day. I think of Dr. King’s famous speech … I have a dream. Well, I have a dream too. I have a dream that one day love will drive out the fear that leads to manipulation and control and a whole host of other not-so-wonderful things within the body of Christ. And I pray we will finally stop trying to build “a church” and instead become “the church” so we can take love outside the walls with authenticity and authority.
Because there are real problems out there. Love is the real solution. And if I really believe that, then I also need to believe this …
Love must begin with me.
I’m not there yet. Not by a long shot. If anything I’ve been seeing much evidence of the areas where my love is sorely lacking. But I’m willing. I’m seeking. I’m forgiving and I’m letting go. As best as I’m able right here and right now. And even where I’m not able, I know He is–because His love never fails.
So please, Lord, let love begin with me.