Radical Love

What is radical love? In looking for an image to illustrate my thoughts, I typed in the word “sacrifice.” This image of Jesus on the cross is the first choice. Is there, a more perfect example of radical love than to lay down one’s life on behalf of others? If there is, I can’t think of one.

I am having a hard time living in the world as it exists today. It isn’t just the political turmoil or the rapidly changing social dynamics, though both of those things play a role in my discontent.

I don’t do external conflict. I don’t argue, discuss, or debate. I turn inward. Thoughts roll around in my head like rocks in a tumbler. I want the edges to smooth out and the surface to become all shiny and pretty, but that is never the outcome. It always seems as though no matter how much I ruminate on a particular topic I fail to come to an adequate solution or even a soap box to stand on. Surely I am not alone.

And then I remember the one. The one who came to earth as a baby and as a man died to pay the price for all humanity. What would Jesus do and say at a moment like this?

The denomination I have belonged to my entire life is in the throws of a split. There are two issues that divide our country and our churches – abortion and homosexuality. No matter how hard I try, I do not see evidence of Jesus’ radical love involved with either of these situations. In Jesus’ earthly life he was surrounded by “holier than thou” religious leaders that condemned others while elevating themselves. How are we any different?

Who needs the radical love of Jesus anymore than a young woman facing an absolutely gut wrenching decision? Do I belong in a church that condemns rather than loves?

How about the gay man or lesbian woman who has been rejected by family and been told God doesn’t love them because they are homosexual?

I believe we are called to love like Jesus and leave the rest to God. Somewhere along the line it feels to me as though knowledge and logic eclipsed love and compassion. Dissecting the Bible to the point where the student feels superior has naturally led to being just like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. I have participated in that kind of study. I know I have thought myself superior in knowledge therefore it was my duty to educate others. I have begged forgiveness and received mercy and grace.

Today, I choose to see the holiness of God in each person that crosses my path. Even if their light is dim, they are still his creation and deserving of kindness.

I want to exhibit radical love as Jesus taught his followers to do.

Today I pray for the courage to be who God created me to be in all situations, not for my good but to point the way back to Him.

Love and Peace,

Sheryl

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