I am a Christian, but I am a hypocrite. Too many times I have seen in the media and on facebook statements made about the church and its people. How unloving we are, how judgmental, and how hypocritical. It breaks my heart, but it’s unfortunately true.
I have been an example of unloving behavior, of being judgmental, and of being a hypocrite. I claim Christianity for me, for my salvation, for my forgiveness, but do I give that same acceptance to others? Not always.
I’m reading The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick and Chapter 22 “Love is Faithful” struck a chord with me today. This part especially,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart . . . your soul . . . your strength . . . your mind . . . and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10: 27). Our love for each other is supposed to be how people distinguish us as Christ’s disciples (John 13: 35). It is the root and ground of our existence (Ephesians 3: 17), meant to be expressed with passion and fervency (1 Peter 4: 8). Love is an exercise we are to “abound” in more and more (1 Thessalonians 3: 12), always getting better at it, becoming increasingly defined by it.
Being defined by love. What does this mean for us on a daily basis?
I think it means a lot of extreme loving and forgiving. Forgiveness has been something that I have struggled with and that God has laid on my heart lately (Read about it HERE). But this extreme love thing is new to me. We can have extreme forgiveness, but if we do not have love to go with it, how are we living out the example of Christ?
I can “forgive and forget” as the saying goes, but does forgetting also mean walking away and ignoring tough situations with my spouse, with my friends, with family and others around me? I think sometimes we believe that it does. But if we accept Christ’s forgiveness and love for us, we are also called to pass that same forgiveness and love on to those around us. Even if it costs us our reputation, even if it risks us looking like fools, even when it hurts, we can’t truly be examples of Christ without them both.
I don’t want to be a hypocrite any more. Instead I choose to abound in forgiveness AND love.