Tag Archive for love

The Kids Aren’t All Right: Part 3–Love is a Verb

 

This is My commandment, that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another, just as I have loved you.  No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends.  (John 15:12-13 AMP)

 

Our kids’ generation is not immune from the error of past generations trying to pass love off as a feeling.  Love is an action word.  It is the act of sacrificing yourself for the benefit of others.

 

It seems the first thing to go when a child loses his or her innocence is the ability to love.  Not the ability to feel, but the impulse to give sacrificially without thinking about it.  I believe this is because kids in our culture are so habituated in getting that it never occurs to them to give.

 

Remember, a child’s “reality” is limited by his or her perception, just as an adult’s is.  But the less life experience you have, the narrower your perception.  Children don’t instinctively know the difference between perception and reality, so it isn’t ever going to occur to them to test their worldview.

 

Where this becomes problematic is if they think the world revolves around them, they will assume that to be true until they find out otherwise.

 

 

Another stumbling block for kids once they reach their adolescent years is their growing self-reliance.  Growing up is inevitable, and becoming more independent is generally a good thing as one gets older.  However, because kids don’t know what they don’t know, it is very easy for them to get in over their heads when trying to do something themselves.

 

Because they have not yet mastered their pride, it is also not in the nature of most adolescents to ask for help, even whenlife completely overwhelms them.  Sometimes, it seems they gravitate more toward the drama of being in a mess than actually solving their problem.

 

I think this is why it is frequently so difficult for older kids to show love.  1 John 4:19 reminds us that we love because God loved us first.  However, unless you know that, you can’t act on it.  To live out a life of love effectively, you must allow yourself to be controlled by the Spirit of love.

 

Now when was the last time you met a teenager who wanted to be controlled by anybody?  They are just reaching the stage of life when they can finally do things for themselves. Now we’re telling them NOT to think of themselves, but others?  No wonder they get confused, which of course, cranks up the drama even more, which throws them right back into the cycle of attention seeking about their confusion rather than helping them move forward with solutions.

 

Because God is love, if you are showing love, people see God through you.  The sooner we teach our kids how to look outside themselves, the easier it will be for us to help them shape their worldview into a view that actually has some WORLD in it.

 

 

DN=: Part 15–Homophobic

 

Homo-  Greek prefix meaning “same”

-phobia  from the Greek ?????, meaning “morbid fear or dread”
(A phobia is defined as)  a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational.  In the event the phobia cannot be avoided entirely, the sufferer will endure the situation or object with marked distress and significant interference in social or occupational activities. Edmund J. Bourne—The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook

       

So taken literally, to be homophobic should mean to be irrationally and  constantly in fear of being the same, to the point of avoiding conformity even when there is no direct threat to your individualism, and if that conformity proves unavoidable, submitting to it would reduce you to a quivering lump of Jell-O.

 

The word “homophobic” was invented by psychologist and gay activist George Weinberg in the 1960’s, first appearing in print in 1972, when homosexuality was still considered a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association.

 

An actual phobia, on the other hand, IS a mental illness—a form of anxiety disorder that frequently requires psychiatric intervention to overcome.

 

Now if a person were to freak out being in a room full of homosexuals, perhaps due to a fear that gayness is contagious, and was unable to function for the rest of the day as a result of that trauma, then yes, THAT would be a phobia, specifically, a form of xenophobia.

 

I don’t know any Truthseekers who behave that way.

 

Therefore, I call B.S.

 

CHRISTIAN DN= HOMOPHOBIC

 

 

Since a Truthseeker’s habit is to constantly push the boundaries of his or her comfort zone, fear has no opportunity to enter the equation.

 

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. (2 Timothy 1:7 HCSB)

 

 Because fearfulness and sound judgment cannot occupy the same mind at the same time, a Truthseeker could not conceivably hope to correct the behavior of a homosexual from a position of fear.  This makes the suggestion of a Truthseeker being homophobic, even if that were an actual word, a logical impossibility.

 

The irony here is that the correction that is inspired by God’s love, which drives out fear, is the very thing that the “=” community regards as being homophobic.

 

Because of this, some may ask, “What gives you the right to go around ‘correcting’ people anyway?”  Actually, it isn’t a right so much as it is an obligation:

 

 “Do not hate your brother in your heart.  Correct your neighbor boldly when he does something wrong.  Then you will not share his guilt.

“Do not try to get even.  Do not hold anything against one of your people.  Instead, love your neighbor as you love yourself.  I am the Lord. 

(Leviticus 19: 17-18 NIrV)

 

Notice that “Do not hate” is followed immediately with “Correct your neighbor boldly.”  Hatred and correction, then, are clearly opposites.

 

Therefore, it follows that the absence of correction where it is needed would indicate the presence of hatred.  It does not matter whether one actually FEELS hateful or not; it is the actions, or lack thereof, that make the difference.

 

For this reason, correcting the behavior a homosexual, or that of any other sinner, is an act of love based upon sound judgment, not of hate stemming from bigotry and judgmental criticism.

 

Nevertheless, there is still one more hurdle to overcome.  It is the nature of all humans, not just homosexuals, to reject correction.

 

Our pride makes us become defensive when our belief systems are challenged.  Frequently the first method of defense that we use is to deflect the correction back at the corrector, in essence sweeping our own faults under the rug while attempting to drag our neighbor’s faults out from under the same rug.

 

When Truthseekers are on the receiving end of this defense mechanism, they usually find it accompanied with another H-word.

 

(Which we will explore when this series is FINALLY concluded with Part 16–Hypocrisy)

 

Us and Them: Part 4–Love

 

You can love your country, but since a country is an abstract concept that really only exists as lines drawn on a map, it cannot love you back.  Your country can have a strong military, but that can’t keep you safe from what happens inside our borders.  Your elected officials can promise you everything, but they themselves are not in a position to truly provide you with anything.

 

Bottom line—if you put your hope in politics, you will always be disappointed.  However, there is a way not to be.

 

For the first 33 years of my life, my needs were never truly met.  But for the last nine, they have been.  Since surrendering my life to Jesus Christ, I have experienced love:

 

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  (John 15:13 NIV)

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.  (1 John 4:18 NASB)

 

The first time I felt truly safe was when I learned and internalized these words:

 

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.  A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.  (Psalm 91:5-7 KJV)

Even in my moments of weakness, when I let world events and political rhetoric get the better of me, I still hold fast to this truth:

 

In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.  The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?  (Psalm 118:5-6 NIV)

 

And for the first time in my life, I finally have a hope and a future (anybody who has ever bought a wall plaque at Family Christian knows where I am going with this):

 

Yes, I know that this is one of the most overused, out-of-context Bible quotes of this age.  Yes, I know that it was a specific message given through the prophet Jeremiah for specific people in a specific situation at a specific time (the Jewish exiles in Babylon in the 6th century BC).

 

But see, that’s just it.  The Jewish exiles of 2,600 years ago had the same needs that we do today.  They needed to know that God still loved them, that He would preserve and protect them, even though they were captives in Babylon for 70 years, and that they would have a hope and a future (in their case, that they would return to their homeland and rebuild Jerusalem).

 

Different situation, different time, same needs.  Because they were “us,” just as we all were created to be “us.”

 

This is why I emphasize “common ground” so much when writing about the concept of being a Truthseeker.  These needs are common to all.

 

I have found that all of these needs are met in Jesus Christ, and in Christ alone.  I am able to love, because He loved me first, before I even acknowledged Him (1 John 4:19).  I know that under His protection, no weapon formed by man shall prosper against me (Isaiah 54:17).

 

But most of all, I have a hope and a future.  I know (because I have seen) that my Lord has gone to prepare a place for me (John 14:2), and that a day will come when my cup will overflow with streams of living water, coming from God’s throne (Revelation 22:1)—the Day when my future will become my eternal present.

 

God wants this for all of “us.”  Christianity is not supposed to be an “us” vs. “them” proposition.  Jesus said in Matthew 28:19 to go and make disciples of all nations.  He didn’t say, “Go into the world, but don’t baptize or teach ‘them.’

 

(For a great example of how God really feels about “them,” come back for Part 5–Nineveh.)