What would the Church look like if we were known by our love for one another? What if someone admits a struggle with an addiction to porn, alcohol, or drugs and our response was to love them? To show grace and mercy and help this person as a friend? As one who is beloved.
What if someone is suffering because they sinned greatly in their marriage, and instead of jumping to judgement that not only judges their sin but their repentance, what if…love? What if we wept over this broken marriage and their shattered lives? What if instead of writing blogs about another’s sin, we prayed for that person? What if we prayed for the broken family?
What if someone confessed they were suffering from depression or anxiety and we didn’t jump in with answers and accusations that they weren’t thankful enough, didn’t believe enough, or that they should just choose joy? What if we sat with this person and loved them? What if we wept with them in their pain and let them know they weren’t alone in this, no matter how long they suffered? What if we shared God’s love and goodness instead of telling them God is disappointed in them?
What if someone begins to lash out in anger because of the abuse that they suffered at the hands of others and instead of being shocked and dismayed at these angry rants, we sat and listened to what they had to say? What if we wept with them and held them, affirming they were hurt? Holding them and loving them in their suffering instead of standing firm in our own self righteousness, insisting they need to get over it.
What if, instead of protesting and shouting hateful things to women seeking abortions, we held up signs offering to help. Help with doctor bills, help with housing or help with adoption. What if instead of making our hatred known, we offered help.
What if a friend comes out as LGBTQ and instead of throwing out words like “church discipline,” or shaming them with our anger, we loved them, showing grace and mercy? What if we didn’t pick up that stone to throw but instead recognized our own great need for grace and mercy?
What if love was our first reaction, followed by grace and mercy, because that is how God responds to us?
What if, instead of shielding our children from the brokenness of people, we showed our children how to love? What if in seeing that kind of love, they began to believe that God is kind and merciful, full of love and grace, instead of a God who is more concerned with our morality and successes than our hearts and failures?
What if when you read this, instead of getting offended or angry because you think I’m dismissing sin, you instead realize that we are all desperate beggars? What if we all need God’s love and grace and without it, we are toast? All of us.
What if we really believed Jesus when he said in John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”?