We’re back from holiday hiatus and excited to release more content!
The following is a blogpost about love that was written for a different blog, but by the same author, yours truly.
There is a massive misunderstanding and misapplication of Christianity today. Love is not the foundation from which all of our actions are springing.
Love is what people firstly need—not correcting, clarifying, reasoning, or militant point-making. Love is the “most excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31) and always comes first. Many Christians sincerely believe that they are acting from love when in fact they are not. How do we know? What does love look like? “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs . . . It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4–5, 7). If love does not look like this, then it is not love, and it will amount to nothing (1 Corinthians 13:8).
Many Christians mistakenly justify “tough love” in the name of Ephesians 4:15, which contains the phrase “speaking the truth in love.” However, when this love is envious, boastful, proud, dishonoring, self-seeking, easily angered, grudge-bearing, or coming from a place of fear instead of love (1 John 4:18), it is not truly love. Any time we seek to correct first instead of listen, to clarify instead of empathize, or militantly make any point instead of acting kindly, we are not being Christian. Like a noisy distraction, any of this “love” will amount to nothing. In fact, it will make things worse.
How can we act truly loving, even in difficult circumstances? Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). We must deny ourselves. In the words of Paul, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3–4). This is a call to action; a call to act in “the most excellent way.” When situations demand tough love the tough love must come from true love, as described above—patient, kind, and not originating from a place of fear. True love must always guide and control us, even when the situation is drastic, and we must act.
When love as defined in 1 Corinthians 13 becomes the wellspring for all of our actions, we will stop wondering why “so many are leaving the Church.” We will stop wondering why “nothing ever changes.” We will stop alienating seekers and driving even other Christians away. But for this to happen we must deny ourselves and follow the way of Jesus, who considered himself nothing and died for us on the cross (Philippians 2:8). Jesus says, “Come, follow me” (Matthew 4:19), and not to follow the way that we mistakenly think is best. We are to act how he acted.
Sometimes Christians are fearful that all of this talk of true love will eventuate in sin, or that we will smooth over situations that require tough love. But the truth is that God, who is love (1 John 4:16), is never easy on sin. Jesus paid with his life the cost of sin, and Christians are called to do the same—but in the same way! We are to deny ourselves and carry our cross in the way of the humble, kind, patient, and forgiving love of Jesus Christ, even when the situation is as drastic as the sin of the entire world. This love, and only this love, will solve all of our problems, as the resurrection of Jesus Christ proves. God be with us all.