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Posts Tagged ‘love’

So my Momentum Group has been reading through the Gospel of Mark recently and tonight we got on the topic of sin.  We got there because of this encounter Jesus had. (I am posting this in the Message translation)

One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: “Which is most important of all the commandments?”Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”The religion scholar said, “A wonderful answer, Teacher! So lucid and accurate—that God is one and there is no other. And loving him with all passion and intelligence and energy, and loving others as well as you love yourself. Why, that’s better than all offerings and sacrifices put together!”When Jesus realized how insightful he was, he said, “You’re almost there, right on the border of God’s kingdom.”After that, no one else dared ask a question.

One member of our group asked “What is sin, how would you define sin?” and we came up with ‘missing the mark’.  However in the course of the discussion the original question poser said he had heard author and theologian J.C. Wenger say that sin is a failure to properly love God and others.

If you think about it, sin isn’t what you hit when you miss the mark.  It isn’t adultery, or gossip, or lying, or whatever else you classify as a sin.  It is the act of missing love.  When you lie, you’re not loving someone enough to tell them the truth. When you steal you’re not loving someone enough to respect their property. And the list goes on.

We came to the conclusion that it’s not just a failure to properly love God and others, but it’s also a failure to properly love ourselves.  IF you go back to this, these are the commandments that Jesus said are the most important.  Loving God, loving others the way we love ourselves.

It really opens you up to a new paradigm.  Often we look at sin as boundaries we should never cross. We shouldn’t do this thing, we shouldn’t sleep around, we shouldn’t get drunk, we shouldn’t even do the things that may lead to sin. It shows that we have been focusing on the wrong things.  We’re focusing on the boundaries, not the directions.  Imagine you’re on the Golden Gate Bridge. Would you feel safe driving across it if there were no railings?  Probably not 🙂  But why? Were you planning on using the railings, bumping into them perhaps?  Truth is, if you were driving across the bridge you’d be more focused on the road ahead then on the railings beside you.  Sin is the same way.  We should be focused on the act of Loving, not on trying to not miss the mark.

It also really changes the way we look at other people’s sin.  How often in the church do we condemn others actions, denouncing them as unholy, and consider ourselves righteous in the process?  All too frequently.  By the Love standard, this is sin.  We think we are holy because we’re not lying, or cheating, or drinking, or fornicating, or *gasp* homosexualizing, but really we’re committing the worst sin of all. We’re not Loving, and therefore, not as holy as we think we are.

It brings a whole new perspective to the story of the rich young ruler.

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

This young man had kept all the boundaries intact.  But that didn’t equal love.  He couldn’t love others as much as he loved himself, therefore his wealth was way too important to give away.  We always translate this story to talk about money, but I think a discussion of sin and love is visible here.  You can keep the law and miss the point.  It’s like Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 (the harsh part before you get to the stuff always read at weddings) “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” As my good friend Tom reminded me the other day “Love is the temple, Love the higher law ” (Courtesy of Bono and the guys in U2).

This last weekend I’ve had a lot of love failures.  It was good to be reminded that what I’m to be about is not a series of rules and laws, but to choose love, in everything, even the way I relate to myself, to my friends, and to the people at my work that I would like to pound.

So today.  Choose love.  Let that be your mark.

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Tuesday’s list

Loathe:

1.  Killing trees by using way too much paper at work.
2.  Having to drive everywhere
3.  Being tired.
4.  Not long enough with my friend and her new laptop because she had to go home.
Love:

1.  Being told 'I love you' unexpectedly and sincerely.
2. The Battlestar Galactica top 10 list.
3.  Re-reading 'Wicked'
4.  Spanky loving the pictures on my computer
5.  80's party on Friday
6.  Becky on the weekend.
7.  "Lost"
8.  Painting with Doreen, Talking with Doreen, Being challenged by Doreen.

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Love/Loathe

Loathe:
>falling in love with baby clothes I have no use for
>clothing sizes not being universal
>brassiere shopping (see last answer)
>migraines
>adults who cannot wipe their own asses (metaphorically speaking)
>not getting to see ShushNow this week cause my schedule is GRRR!

Love:
>getting fussy Mei Mei to sleep in minutes despite the fact that she had shots today
>falling in love with baby clothes even though I have no use for them
>liliput pretending to use my makeup
>Obama's speech today
>stepping outside this morning, hearing the birds sing for the first time in a long time, and smelling the crisp, freshness that is spring

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