Compassion Wednesday: Compassion v. Fear

NO FEAR IN LOVE

I’ve used this before, but I’m reusing it now. I don’t think we’re getting it.

This is my warning statement for what’s to follow. I will get political, and this is an indictment against the Church. If you do not wish to continue to read, that’s all right. I’ll be back to my normal stories Friday. If you do wish to continue, know that I speak now from a place of love for the Church, but also of a broken heart.

There are two things I write about more than anything else on this blog – Hope and Fear.

I’ve written an indictment against the church and against our political system a few times, most notably in my post The Prince of Peace.

I’ve spoken on what hope really looks like, and what it should mean in our lives like in my post A Dream of Heaven.

And the Church keeps saying that it is a place of Hope, a Sanctuary against the harsh, cold, unloving world around us.

And yet, I can’t help but see that the cold, harsh, unloving world is pouring out from the Church.

Fear has stolen our love. Fear has stolen our hope. It has driven us to the brink of insanity.

I might be a bit over-dramatic, but there are times that I look around me and I think – no, if anything I’m underplaying the reality.

Fear has been front and center this political year (has it only been 1 year? It feels like decades). Both sides, honestly. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the known. Fear of what one person will do if elected president.

We clutch to candidates that we wouldn’t want to be seen in public with, because of fear.

“We want so-and-so because of Supreme Court appointments…”

Fear.

“We want so-and-so because they’ll protect us from terrorists…”

Fear.

“We want so-and-so because the other so-and-so will lead us into war…”

Fear.

“Our economy…”

Fear.

“Our rights…”

Fear.

“Our values…”

Fear.

“Our dignity…”

Fear.

All of it is fear. And fear that gives far more credit to those we praise or demonize than they deserve.

Trump will not save us. Clinton will not save us. Johnson or Stein or McMullin or Mickey Mouse will not save us.

They won’t. They can’t. They have no ability to life a finger to do anything on their own.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them.

We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

We love because he first loved us.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

– 1 John 4

We have been given the Spirit of God, not fear. We put our trust in God, not man or woman.

Fear has stolen all of that away from us. I read Scripture and I look at the Church, and I cannot recognize her.

I am just as much to blame as anyone, though.

Fear makes us prop up a man who epitomizes everything that the church is called to be against – and say that yes, he’s a flawed man. That is true, and we all are. It is by Grace that we have been saved, not because we’re great people.

But that same fear causes us to crucify and villainize a woman and her husband, who have been strong teachers and leaders within the church for so long, because they come out with an affirmation of love and acceptance toward a people group that we have long feared and demonized to some frightening lengths. And we don’t stop to ask why they’ve changed their minds. Why they are choosing love instead of vitriol.

We don’t ask for reasons. We stone. We don’t look for common ground with those different than us, we look for someone to shove them out of our lives or someone to “rescue” us from them.

Daddy Trump, Mama Clinton, Uncle Johnson, and Aunt Stein are not the answers. Even cousin McMullin won’t help. All those problems that make us cry foul against the government will still be there no matter who takes office.

But do want to know something? God will still be on His throne. And, he’s another secret that I think you may have forgotten – He CAN save us. He CAN change the world.

He already has.

And he did it, not through violence or hate filled speech, but through love.

And he calls us to do the same.

The same Spirit that rose Jesus from the grave lives in us (to quote from Jeremy Camp’s song, and from Ephesians 1). And that same Spirit, who conquered death and sin with love, can change the world around us.

If we are willing.

Love changes and restores everything.

Fear destroys everything.

What will you choose?

______________________________________________________________

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