Friday, July 8, 2016

The Division of ONE

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;  that they all may be ONE, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be ONE in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be ONE just as We are ONE:  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in ONE, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” – Jesus Christ, John 17:20-23

Some days I just grow tired of hearing all the hate in this world.  But the problem is, I don’t grow tired enough of hearing about it to do anything consciously different.  Father, do not let this day be one of those.
Waking up this morning and hearing of the sniper shots that has killed and injured 10 police officers in Dallas, Texas, is heartbreaking.  It is always heartbreaking when the innocent suffer at the hands of those filled with hatred.  It hurts when it’s children in a school, when it’s women at the hands of their spouse, when it’s children at the hands of their own parents. 

We hate others for so many reasons.  We hate them because they’re different than us, whether it be their gender, their race, their social status, their sins, or even their tattoos.  It seems that as a society, we can look at any person and instead of finding reasons to love them, we find reasons to hate them.
I know ya’ll get tired of hearing this from me, and to be quite frank about it…that doesn’t bother me.  What this world needs is love, and God is LOVE in its purest form (1 John 4:8).  Love is the ONLY thing that will conquer hate.  It is the ONLY thing that will unite us as ONE again, and remove these divides in our society.

Jesus prayed for exactly that.  Before His death, He went to pray alone, and prayed for those of us that are living today – you and me.  His prayer wasn’t that we be rich and famous, have everything we need, be healthy, see the world, or even live happy lives.  What He prayed was far better than ALL of that.  He prayed that we would be ONE as He is ONE with God, “I in them and You in Me”.  That is the solution to the hatred of the world.
“I in them” is His Holy Spirit coming to live within us when we accept Him as our Savior.  “You in Me” is His Holiness as the Son of God, which He has always been (no, Jesus didn’t just come about when He was born into this world).  The closeness He has with the Father makes them ONE.  For us to share that closeness as a society, we need to be ONE with Him.

Does that mean all saved believers huddle together in a church three times a week and thank Him for our oneness? No!  Absolutely not!  In fact, if that is what we call Christianity, friends, we’ve got it all wrong.  Every one of us is to be a disciple to those around us who need His love.  That means YOU.  That means ME.  If you only show your Christian love in church, well, that’s more like showing up at a club meeting and showing off your membership card.  It doesn’t add to the society of ONE.  It doesn’t share God’s love.  It doesn’t change anything in this world.
And I’ll go a bit further and say that if all the world hears of your Christianity is how horrible they are and how much they need Jesus, well, that’s a turn off.  There’s no love in that at all.  How would you like it if that was the message you got from those you respect.  “Sister Dogooder, you just need to change your ways and be more like me.”  “Brother Betterthan, you need to stop that lifestyle you’ve chosen.”  Notice the focus is on criticism, not love.  See friends, those who we find fault in don’t see their faults.  Pointing out what we see is nothing more than pointing out what we don’t like (hate) about them. 

Your job is to love them. Let God change them.  That’s how your sanctification works.
The clock is ticking.  Hatred is ruling.  People are being killed because of their choices in sex partners, because of the color of their skin, because they wear a badge, because they watch a movie, and yes, occasionally because they are Christians as well.  I say occasionally because the truth is, unless we’re all huddled up in a church building somewhere, it’s hard for anyone to identify us to hurt us.

Our love for others must become our identity.  When John said “God is love”, he wasn’t saying God is a big read puffy heart.  He was saying that was God’s identity, His character, day in and day out.  LOVE overcomes hate like water overcomes fire. 
So now I ask you, when did you last show love for someone completely different than yourself?  Will today be different?  It will for me.  I do solemnly swear to you that hatred will not rule in my life. 

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, if we don’t show love to the world, who will?  Without our example, why would they choose to become ONE with us?  It was Jesus’ prayer.  Let’s not be an obstacle to grace.

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