Ever feel like you’re making a lot of noise, but you aren’t making music? That’s where I am. It’s like this:
Are my actions ringing louder than my words? I’ve been extremely guilty of saying & not doing. Where do my words meet my walk? Where does my love become evident?
I say this all because, recently, I’ve realized the enormous following that bitterness & hate have in the world we live in. See presidential candidates, hate rhetoric, boycotts of stores over acceptance of people, hate over mixed couples in ads, kids shot in the streets, & the way people talk about people who sin differently than they do.
Doesn’t that put it in perspective?
But my disconnect happens because I see in His word where God has called us to love Him & love others like He loves us. Forgiveness. Mercy. Grace. Love. In the verse about love, 1 Corinthians 13 says:
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
Is that me? Am I speaking yet shouting out something that can’t be heard? Am I getting so lost in the idea of who to love, when to love, how to love. In this world…exactly who do I choose to love?
In a recent conversation with a friend, I was talking about mercy & grace & was continually reminded by him that my mercy & grace isn’t what God’s is. In many stories, over & over again, I see Jesus not only loving people, but understanding their need to be loved. The woman about to be stoned, the woman at the well, Zacchaeus, Saul turned Paul, the thief on the cross. God did things that made other people uncomfortable. He accepted people. He loved the Gentiles. He healed the lepers. He forgave prostitutes. He saved adulterous women. He died for me. God’s sweet love story isn’t about telling others they are wrong. It’s about realizing our wrong & righting it & then loving other broken people into His arms. Why do we try to fix people when we are the broken too? Why are we not letting God work by continually trying to use our own human ways to fix what we cannot fix? All the great things we try to do, if not done in love, only hinder the love story of God. It sounds like the loud banging, chaotic noise of crashing cymbals that convince people that the story of love we are shouting at them isn’t one that convinces them that God died for them too. Because we build ourselves up. We say our sin isn’t as bad. We say what we think under the guise that it’s ok for truth to be offensive & to hurt because it’s facts so just deal with it. That’s abrasive, manipulative, angry, aggressive, & wrong. Truth is truth because it’s facts, & saying it in love makes it a much more convincing argument. That’s why grace & mercy are so important. Because God’s message is that what we say matters. How we say it matters. How we love others matters. When we stop trying to make our way the only way, we give God room to show up & prove that His way, that love is, the only way.
When we choose to say that someone else’s sin is worse than ours, when we try to dictate what God says–we start making noise that to hurting people sounds like clanging cymbals. It sounds like hypocrisy. It sounds like anger, bitterness, & rejection.
Make love your highest goal. Not because it makes sense. Not because you choose to. But because love, love is what God gives us abundantly, without limit, without expectation. Because His action–it speaks louder than our chaotic noise. It speaks louder than our attempts to sort out who we should accept or not accept.
In the end, don’t you think it’s better to love like Christ loved us, than to turn our backs on the people standing right beside us that are hurting & dying to be loved?
If you try to tell me that I’m the only sinner that Jesus died for then I can’t believe that. If someone hurts you, love them like Jesus. Do we really get that? Do we understand the magnitude of what that command means? Love others like I love you. Jesus loved us so much, so greatly, that His love manifested itself & led Him to death on a cross. That’s love. Dying for people that hate you, work against you, shouted for your death, are different from you, that sin against you, & those that want to kill you.
Yet we struggle to love those we see at different. Well, I don’t want that to be me. I don’t want to look at others and forget that the first person I’m responsible for is me. I see the way that I break every single one of God’s commandments. I think bad thoughts. I murder people with my looks. I lie. I break God’s heart, & just because my wrong is different, does not make Jesus any less capable.
Jesus loved. It was crazy. He loved His betrayer Judas & He loved His beloved John. He loved & He didn’t stop because it wasn’t convenient for Him. He didn’t think about it & then come down off the cross. So how about we follow suit. How about instead of wild statements about who is going to hell or who God doesn’t love or accept, how about we make a wild statement through our actions by loving people the way God said to. Why try to enforce our own take on Christ’s word & why not actually try being the hands & feet of Christ. Because the Christ I read about, the one I sing to, the one I worship, didn’t die for only my sin. But for it all. Find me a verse that says He didn’t die for it all, & I’ll be convinced. Show me the way Jesus’ example said to stop loving when it’s not convenient & I’ll stop. But until then, I’m gonna believe what God said. At that’s that He came for it all & He died for it all & He rose again for it all.
Stop not loving people because it’s not convenient for you. Because Jesus died on the cross for you & for the transgender person using the Target bathroom. & if you think Jesus stops loving & stops forgiving, then I hope you stay out of Target, because I’m trying to love God & find a cute craft to do without being told that someone doesn’t deserve the love that by that standard I don’t deserve either.
Keep your words & your loud noisy cymbals away from the everliving, powerful truth of God. Because the cymbals of your actions & the cymbals of your words are distracting from the life changing, life giving words & love of God.
Unconditional, no exceptions Love.
God calls us to that kind of love. So forgive. Pray. Be used to love others.
Are you going to? Or is this generation’s legacy going to be that we couldn’t love like Jesus because we were too busy making our own judgements about Christ’s words?
If we don’t love one another the word of God will never be truly heard. Love has the power to change people’s lives. As a Christian, you experience that grace & love everyday. If we really want Him to be great, if we want to be known as Christians then please,
let go of your cymbals & start letting God’s love be louder than you.