“To love at all is to be vulnerable.” -CS Lewis
A call to full-time ministry is really a call to full-time love.
Sometimes that love is easy to give; sometimes not so much.
Sometimes that love looks like a hug, a smile, and an encouraging comment.
Other times it means saying hard things, and drawing a line in the sand.
But it’s always all about love.
It’s about showing God’s love.
You cannot effectively love someone without the truth – God’s truth. Jesus.
You also cannot effectively minister to someone the truth without love.
If you only love, the person never comes to know Christ, never experiences freedom, never knows the truth.
If you only speak the truth, you run the risk of becoming harsh, uncaring, and hardened against the very people you should be ministering to.
It seems that most people have no problem doing one of those two things – some even do both, depending on who they are with. Why?
Why do we struggle to include the truth in our love? Why do we struggle to love those who we must share the truth with?
Unfortunately, it’s because of our own self-love. We fear being hurt.
We’re afraid if we stand up for the truth in someone’s life, they’ll hurt us by reacting negatively.
But what if they don’t?
What if they are waiting to hear it, want to hear it?
What if they die and go to Hell and you knew how they could escape it?
But what if they do? What if they get angry, what if they refuse to associate with you?
Do you trust God to be all you need, or do you need this person, too?
We fear including the truth in our love for the same reason – what if I tell the truth, and then they respond, but then later they do something else that might hurt me?
What if they do?
What if everyone does?
What if that’s the point?
Could it be that we’ve made idols of our relationships? Not just those closest to us, but those far away that God has called us to reach with his glorious truth?
We’ve built walls to protect us, so that we never have to see the other side. We can proclaim the truth in righteous indignation, but all that does is make us bitter and make them hopeless.
When we refuse to love, we become pharisees. We proclaim the law, we condemn people, and we constantly remind them that they’ve failed. Because in order to share the Gospel, the good truth, the hope, we must care. And if we care… we might get hurt.
We don’t want to be hurt.
We don’t want to take a chance.
We don’t want to be alone.
And if we are alone, we want it to be on our terms.
The irony is that the very thing we fear the most, the hurt we’re so sure will come, is exactly what we’ve done to those who dared to minister to us at the beginning of our walk with Christ.
Because we’re all human. We all fall. But by God’s grace, we can get back up again.
The powerful grace that we’ve received is often ignored when we consider the opportunities before us.
But he (or she) who has been forgiven much, forgives much.
How? Because God.
Because God is enough.
Because God loves me.
Because God is good.
Because God is powerful.
Because God has a plan.
And if I get hurt, I’ll praise Him.
I choose not to trust people; I choose to trust God.
Because when you let God be God, you can let humans be… human.
In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.