Our Strong, Anguishing Love

November 24, 2012

Friends,
Are we in anguish over the debauched lifestyles of others as Lot was? (2 Peter 2:7,8) We should be. No, this doesn’t mean we take our grief and turn it into anger, hate, slander, or bitterness. Instead, we who have the Spirit of Christ Jesus in us will have His attitude, both toward the depravity, and toward the people filled with it and causing it. Toward the wickedness, we will show disdain, but toward the people themselves, we will show strong love.

What does strong love look like? Does it cower? Does it give in to sin? Does it tolerate evil? It does none of these. Strong love stands up for Truth. It proclaims Truth. It defies evil and falsehood. And it does these things in the name and power of the Lord of Hosts. Look at the lives of the martyrs who were true followers of Christ and we will see what strong love does. For strong love comes only from the Lord. Other types of love come from ourselves, the world, and even from the evil one. Oh yes, the devil certainly spreads different types of counterfeit love everywhere –loves that are motivated by selfishness, greed, pride, jealousy, envy, power, control, and even cruelty.

But for those who truly house God’s Spirit, there is a different love in operation. It’s God’s love. It’s true love. And it’s strong love.

What then does this love do when it sees the unprincipled, wretched, and debauched lifestyles of the wicked? This love sacrifices. It sacrifices one’s time, energy, dignity, safety, and reputation. It thinks of the other at all times. No, not so that the loved one may do what he wants, or say what he wants. But this love sacrifices in order to show and be Christ to others –Christ who sacrificed Himself to provide redemption for us, and who, while loving us, also hates sin and will not tolerate it. And because Jesus, while on earth, defied the evil of sin, hypocrisy, and deception by proclaiming the Gospel of Truth and Righteousness and Love and Freedom From Sin, and because we’ve been commanded to conduct ourselves just as Jesus did (1 John 2:6), we must be doing the same –continually.

So, are we in anguish over the depravity of people? Are we willing to lay down our lives so as to enact God’s true love in their lives? Are we submissive to God’s leading in exactly how to do this, even if it costs us our comfort or even seems to us to be a strange way? Are we opening up our mouths to remind them that their cancer is growing and they are indeed dying from it? And are we groaning by the Spirit (Rom. 8:26) –who prays in accordance with God’s will (v. 27) through our mouths (Ps. 81:10)– as if we ourselves were the ones dying and headed for Hell?

Oh, that God’s people would have a vision of Hell! Oh, that we would weep in anguish of spirit over those about to fall into the abyss of everlasting torment! God wants no one to go there! (2 Peter 3:9) He came to save ALL people! (1 Tim. 2:4) –To bring ALL people to the knowledge of the Truth! (same verse) How can we hold the Truth back from them because we’re too shy, or we’re too tired, or we’re too lazy, or we’re too preoccupied–?! Or even because they say they don’t need it? Yes, we must respect their right to hold onto their cancer (for this is exactly what God does and why they end up not saved), but we (by God’s wooing, compassionate Spirit) will continue to try! We will continue to use every means we can think of –loving words, Scripture verses, modeling holiness and compassion, praying for them…

What then should the anguish of sinner’s sin do in us if we’ve already done all we can in their hearing? We still have more we can do! What’s that? We can fall before the Holy and Mighty King and cry out. And cry out some more. And cry out some more and more and more! For the soul is dying! The soul is falling. The soul is rushing toward the precipice! –That cliff where the dark flames leap out to grab the foolish rebels who just will not listen.

Even now, I’m sure some readers can tell I am crying. Yes, tears… for of course I’m speaking from an anguished heart. From God’s heart in me. And I’m thinking of several who I love, who God-in-me loves. One is a friend who has already died. I haven’t been able to talk of it yet. Only right this minute I mention it finally. I found out about it about two months ago, and actually that he died last year. I still cannot talk about it, really. Because I heard he was unrepentant till the end. But I’d prayed, I’d wept, I’d fasted, I’d lay in sackcloth for hours and days and years over his soul. But… could his rebellion truly have negated all the effects of my love-soaked prayers, at least the effects for him? Could his rebellion truly have negated all God’s efforts to save him? I can’t bear the thought. But… how much God values our freedom to choose… to choose to hold on to the eternal cancer that only He can wash away.

Oh, that God’s people would anguish over the debauched, ruined lives of others –those whom God wants to save, heal, and restore, but who are in need of intercessors, preachers, and people whose lives they can look at to see that God is real. Oh, that God’s people would hate sin the way He does, but love people the way He does.

Strong love is the only way. But… where can God find a willing, holy, and committed heart He can use?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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