But concerning brotherly love [for all other Christians], you have no need to have anyone write you, for you yourselves have been [personally] taught by God to love one another. (1 Thessalonians 4:9, Amplified Bible)
When I am asked if I have always loved golf, I experience myself hesitating. I used to respond with an obligatory yes, but an unsettling in my gut usually followed. I do love what golf has taught me about myself and life, the opportunities it has given me (free college education), and the places it has taken me across the world. I enjoyed a good career and I am thankful.
The unsettling in my gut eventually turned into curiosity about what really is true about my love (or not love) of the game. My conclusion is while golf holds many blessings, my pursuit to compete was also about other people’s expectations for me. It’s a both/and reality. I would love to expand on the non-love side of the story, but for now, understand that what appears to be true outwardly is not always what is true inwardly. I suspect many of us know what I mean.
My gut feels the familiar unsettling as I stop to ponder that there is no in-between regarding how we are to love one another.
Since golf is just a game (except for those trying make a living), it really doesn’t change anything if we love it, hate it, or are somewhere in between. Today, I am somewhere in between, and it is a good place for me.
When it comes to love, brotherly love for one another, there was no in-between according to Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica. He began by reminding them how they “became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia” (1 Thessalonians 1:7, ESV). The majority of his letter was filled with instructions they had learned from Paul, Silas, and Timothy—all except for today’s key verse, when Paul made a blunt shift: “…for you yourselves have been [personally] taught by God to love one another.”
Paul was making a point that there is no excuse when it comes to loving one another because God himself has shown us how to love. My gut feels the familiar unsettling as I stop to ponder that there is no in-between regarding how we are to love one another. I want to love well, and I confess that I do don’t always do so.
In his book Choose Life, Rowan Williams says, “The goodness of the Christian is never a matter of achieving a standard, scoring high marks in a test. It is letting the wonder of God’s love knock sideways your ordinary habits, so that God comes through—the God who achieves His purpose by reckless gift, by the cradle and the cross. True Christian morality is when we can’t help ourselves, can’t stop pouring out the kind of love that makes others live. Love is given so that love may be born and given in return.”
What ordinary habits can we knock sideways today, giving birth to the kind of love that makes others live?
February 14, 2019
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