One thing remains

One thing remains

(I have questioned whether to post this or not. I realize that some people who read my blog are much closer to this situation and pain than I am and these thoughts may stir that pain. My heart isn’t to add more sting to something that already hurts or offer simple solutions, or any solution, to something complex, but rather share the comfort that I’m finding. I pray that in these words you read the comfort of God, too.)

I received some news last week that has left me shaken. The story is the same as all of the news that shakes us, someone made some horrible choices and those choices will have a lasting impact on the lives of many people all around them.

“How does this happen?”, I ask. I struggle with a disconnect between the person I knew and the facts I’m presented with. The dissonance seems more disturbing when I think about the beliefs they held and expressed. How do these things coincide? And, if it happened to them are any of us exempt?

But, yesterday, while sitting in church, I heard the beginning of an answer. I say “beginning” because there really isn’t an “answer” that will satisfy the ache in my heart. There isn’t a clean conclusion that will wipe away the impact of these choices. But, it’s a beginning – for what it’s worth.

Outside of the simply sad facts of the case, my conflict sits in the oxymoronic nature of what was said and what was done. How can someone learn and teach the Bible with this totally contrary thing in their heart and life?

The beginning of the answer is this: Learning and teaching the Bible isn’t enough to keep us from sin because the Bible doesn’t have the power to change our hearts. The only thing (or rather, person) with the power to transform our hearts from embracing the sin we crave is the love of Jesus and loving him in return. Now, Jesus can certainly be found in the Bible, but it’s also possible to spend our whole life learning and memorizing the words there and miss him altogether. The life-transforming power of God is not found in the words written about God, but in the Word of God himself – which is Jesus.

Learning the rules will never be enough to persuade us away from the sin in our hearts, only love can do that. While my first instinct is to rage and judge, I come back to this simple truth – the one thing common to every person alive is the sin in our hearts and the one thing powerful enough to overcome the chains of sin and restore the pain it produces is the love of God.

I can’t change the current situation and I can’t fix the hurt, but I can love. I can’t guarantee that I will live a life that will never cause pain to others, but I can pursue loving Jesus with my whole being, which will go a long way to avoiding that end. I don’t have the power to practice what I preach (and neither do you), but Jesus has it and offers it to us freely.

At the end of the day, the only and best option available to us is to love. Love the broken. Love the lost. Love the sinner among us. Love the sinner inside of us. Minister love to the hurting. Love through justice. Love through mercy. Love through actions as well as words. When all is lost, one thing remains – and it’s the greatest thing of all – it’s love.

1 comment

  1. Very timely... thank you!
    This is a great point, and it's always why it gave me pause when someone would hold up a Bible and say, 'This book will keep you from sin..." There are way too many people who hold on tight to "The Book" AND heinous sins -- at the same time -- for that to be the whole truth.