The words that come out of our mouths are a reflection of what is going on in our hearts. And for some, it is the words that we do not say.
Three Little Words
I struggle with both of these. But as a legalist there were 3 words that I absolutely refused to say. Regardless of the setting, I never let these three words roll off of my tongue. Ever.
These three words are “God is love.”
I hope this seems strange to you. It should. Why would anyone, much less someone who claims to be a Christian, be unwilling to say that God is love?
The reason? Fear.
A weak gospel.
I was afraid to say that God is love because I thought I would be making little of what Christ accomplished on the cross.
My fear came out of a thinking that those who walked around saying that “God is love” really meant that “God doesn’t care what you do.” I viewed it as an invitation and an excuse to sin. To live a life of debauchery. Sin big and sin often, because it doesn’t matter. God loves you.
Forget church. Forget the Bible. Certainly forget tithing because these things don’t matter when God loves you.
Pursue yourself and your own pleasure. Do whatever you want. God loves you.
There are two problems with this line of thinking. The first is where else can the gospel begin? Why would God become man if he did not love us? What hope can any of us have if not for this love? If these three words are not true, then how else do you explain the crucifixion?
The second problem is that when I started saying these words, that which I feared so much didn’t happen. As I live in the reality of a God that loves me it changes everything for me. How can I stare such a love in the face and not love back? Want to sin less? Then live in the reality of grace. The only path to less sin lies in the truth that God loves us.
My fear of cheapening the gospel was really a front. It was easy to to tell myself that my fear was mostly derived from a pious reason. It is not uncommon for a strong religious conviction to be a mask for a much deeper heart issue.
If God is Love
My real heart issue is that I was afraid of the consequences of this kind of love.
If God is love, then I might have to admit that he does not care about my religious rules and checklists.
If God is love, then he loves me not because I earned it, but because he chose to.
If God is love, then I might have to think differently about my neighbor and my enemies.
If God is love, then I might have to respond differently to this love. Maybe it demands more than church attendance. Maybe it demands more than dressing myself up on the outside with a suit and tie or theological language. Maybe it demands more than just lip service.
Maybe such a love demands my heart and my entire life.
As you can see it was much easier for me to just not say those words, truth or not.
Are there any words you are avoiding? How does it make you feel to think that “God is love.” Comment here.
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