Thank You, God, we got through all the gift giving and advertising again. And now it’s a new year, January, 2008, and these last two months have been both good and bad. I wish I knew what to expect from day to day because my emotions are out of control, running back and forth from one extreme to the other. Yet, I am learning about “me” and there may actually be hope that I will find my true self, the individual You made, Lord, with the purpose You planned for me. And I really believe that You can do it because You are love in the highest form. And maybe therein lies the solution, not just for me but for all of us.
There must be a better way. Following rules, obeying, proving faith by works, all seem so cold and uncaring, almost selfish. I know that because You have shown that the element that most describes You is “love.” Actually, love created the world and all of its elements, including me. Then, love provided forgiveness and hope by sacrificing Itself so that I could be love, too, the highest form of love. If we plant laws, rules and works, the ground produces steel mills and skyscrapers, but if the richness in the soil is love then a bountiful harvest springs forth with blossoms of the gifts: faith, hope, compassion, gentleness, patience, unselfishness, giving, wisdom and all the flowers of goodness that are Your attributes.
So, if I have love and yet don’t obey a law, I am not nothing, I am not a clanging cymbal, and love provides forgiveness and hope. We strive to lead others to You in our churches but, without thinking, expect certain types of behavior, speaking in certain ways, using “holy” words, maintaining an accepted lifestyle and requiring obedience with the sacraments. Then, we give the acceptance that is supposed to be “freely given.” You didn’t require anything before You gave your love, not even belief. You even asked forgiveness for those who killed You when they had not even repented. That seems to say that there are no requirements in order for anyone to be loved and that covers a multitude of sins, ALL of them. It’s simple then, “when in doubt, love.” Unfortunately, we usually do just the opposite. When in doubt, we tend to turn away.
It seems to me that a reprogramming is necessary, a planned concerted effort to overcome our learned behaviors and thought patterns, such as not talking to strangers, considering our own needs first all the time or believing that following rules will save us. Our thoughts control our actions; therefore, begin there with every contact whether it's those we know or with total strangers. Love is not meant to be optional or selective, yet, we choose to put limits on it.
Wait a minute. Actions are works aren't they? And loving thoughts must produce loving actions. Then, love does ultimately lead to actions and, the truth is, they must not be opposed at all. God's love came first but then came his works, us. God didn’t limit his love, He put it into action. Jesus didn't hold back, He did the greatest work of all. So, truly, the motive behind doing any great or small thing has to be love.
Volumes of commentaries and studies have been written on the Christian way and we have all believed that it is a righteous thing to follow rules, but is it really? There truly is a more excellent way and we have only to take the action of holding a little baby in our arms to know the simplicity of it all, Love.