As I shared the other day, my eyes are being pried open to the need and opportunity to love all around me. And not just to love half-heartedly, but to go all in, go hog wild, as we say here in Texas. To give with no agenda or ulterior motive, just unconditional love. I’m not saying I do this with any sort of consistency or depth, but I’m saying my eyes have been opened, at least a little bit.
I think the whole ordeal with World Vision just revealed to me how much inside our own head we are. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, basically a couple of days ago World Vision (a Christian based humanitarian effort that supports children in poverty all around the world) announced that they would change their hiring policy and hire Christian gay people who were married.
People went crazy.
Thousands and thousands of people withdrew their $35 monthly donations for the child they had been supporting for years because of this decision.
In other words, people yanked back their promise of love, support, and provision of food, medicine, education, and clothing for a child because they decided in their own mind that punishing the “sin” of being gay was way more important than providing a child with life.
They would rather punish gay people than provide food to a child in poverty. (Benjamin Corey had an awesome post that first made me aware of this whole situation.)
Then, yesterday, World Vision reversed their decision. Nish Weiseth wrote an excellent piece about this, also.
I get why World Vision would do that. These are real kids losing real, tangible needs because people withdrew their support. But it still sucks.
And in all of this, it struck me how much inside our own heads, our own lives, our own minds we are. How did we, as Jesus-followers, end up deciding that homosexuality was worse than greed? Or selfishness? Or idolatry? Or divorce? Or economic injustice? Because we live inside our own heads, with little to no thought for the needs of those around us.
We’re great at loving our kids. Or our spouses. Or our friends. We’re great at loving people just like us.
But what happens when you don’t like someone’s behavior? When you don’t agree with their lifestyle? Well. Then we don’t have to love them, of course. And furthermore, they deserve to be called out, shunned, and made to wear scarlet letters so we can separate those who agree with us from those who don’t. We become modern-day Pharisees, knowing we’re supposed to “love our neighbors as ourselves” but asking who our neighbor is – who do we have to love? Who can we get away with hating?
When we get stuck living the Christian life in our own heads, with our own judgements and opinions and rhetoric, the entire Christian life becomes all about judging other people’s behavior. There is no room in our minds for loving others because love doesn’t come from your head.
Love comes from God, who resides in us, in union with our spirit. God, who is Love, and who is revealed in the person of Jesus, isn’t interested in punishing people for their behavior or creating in clubs and out clubs or in ranking sins. He is about loving unconditionally. He is about social and economic justice (which, by the way, he addresses way more often than anything remotely regarding homosexuality), He is about loving our enemies, He is about redemption and healing and mercy.
To participate in this crazy, counter-culture, wildly loving, Kingdom of God, we must get outside our own head. We must be willing to enter into the swirling Grace around us, to dive in and let go of the rhetoric we thought we knew, the judgements and arguments and “I’m-right-and-you’re-going-to-hell” speech.
We must be willing to open our eyes to what Jesus really said, what He really cares about. What did He say were the greatest commandments? To love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love others. And then He went on to say that all of the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments. (Matthew 22:36-40). All of the head-based, rule-following behaviors and decisions must be seen through the greatest commandment to love.
Because when it comes down to it, can anyone really picture Jesus dumping hungry kids off his lap to stand up and call out a gay person who was trying to feed those kids?
Let’s get outside our own heads, our own stuff, and let’s be about the business of loving others.