Shower Musings, Pokemon, and Love

i hate nothing about you with red heart light

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Remember that time I wrote a blog and told ya’ll to expect to hear from me. That I was all about standing up and speaking out, and then I went radio silent for the next three mos.?

Life, amirite?

But seriously, as a writer, I long to write all the words. Unfiltered. Prolific. Shakespearean if you will. But in an effort to have what I write really matter, I am trying to be a disciple of Christ first. I know that there is nothing that hasn’t been said. But I also know that when God decides to speak, it can be new and fresh and revolutionary. His Word supersedes any and all, and I am trying to wait for those words. Here’s tonight’s random Holy Spirit download.

As one does, while simultaneously shampooing my hair and trying to get the Pokémon theme song out of my head for the 47th time this week (#fixitnetflix), I started to think about God and His love and His holiness. Truth and absolutes and the murkier gray stuff that emerges when you are in relationships with real people. The topics that leave me feeling like maybe I don’t know a dang thing about any of it. It’s that crossroads. You know, where you play prosecutor and defense and then you’re also the judge/jury because this is all happening in your mind and because both arguments are valid, you decide on a re-trial and save the whole of it for another shower. {Insert re-emergence of Pokémon-gotta catch ’em all}

Thinking about “the big C” Church and Christian culture kinda has me like that.  Having been raised in it, loving it fiercely like I do…how can I give God all the glory AND respect His bride the Church AND love my brothers and sisters well AND say I’m super sorry that we (the Church in general, not the whole) totally suck sometimes. That it makes me flip over tables, Real Housewife reunion mad that we are failing in so many categories in so many demographics. The time spent judging and marketing and calculating with agendas and ulterior motives when all we have been called to do is love. No strings or conditions.

Just love. That is it. Not love for only the people who look like, act like, and think like us. Not love the sinner and hate the sin.

Hate is not a command we are given. God hates evil (I’m not even sure if what He feels is how we understand the word). But I’m cool with that because that’s His job.   Him being Creator and Redeemer. Sovereign and Omnipotent. He is also the Father. As a parent, I can relate on a much smaller scale. I don’t like when my kids make bad choices because it hurts them. Because I believe they were created for more and better. As a human and a Christian in today’s culture, it is easy to pick out the “ultimate” sins of our generation. I’m sure you are thinking of a scandalous list right now. 😉  But in Proverbs 6, He tells us the sin that he hates. Pride. Lying. Hurting the innocent. A heart that devises wicked schemes. Injustice. People who stir up conflict. Sounds like God really can’t stand the particular sins that so many Christians and churches often perpetuate. How can we even rationalize judging anyone’s sin based on that? I recently heard best-selling author and all-around amazing human being, Bob Goff, say that God doesn’t need a lawyer. He doesn’t need us to prosecute offenders or defend Him. He is SO good. He has this for sure.

I kinda feel like He would maybe just like us to get back to the two commandments He gave us. Love him. Love others. Period. Full stop.

He tells us often to love and how to love. It is kind. It is not proud. It keeps no record of wrong. It covers sin and doesn’t waste time hating it. That kind of love draws people in and bridges the gaps and points us to the cross where Jesus took care of all the sin crap anyway. I don’t need to worry about your sin. That is not me loving you better or saving you harder. I have PLENTY of my own problems to deal with. Trust me.

I seriously wonder what God thinks when He hears us spout trite phrases like that. Shaking my head at sinners letting other sinners know that they hate the other person’s sin. (Head scratch) I mean…what even is that?

But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Is the condition of the Church better in this department than even 10 years ago? My gut says yes. Do we have more fences to mend in regards to loving others with no ulterior motive or agenda simply because that is what God calls us and equips us to do? Absolutely. There are amazing churches out there. I may be biased, but I think the one I attend is just such a church (Encounter Christian in Cedar Rapids). A fellowship of flawed humans who do their best to love Jesus and follow His example.

It’s not about being right or having all the answers or the paltry/patronizing consolations we think we should offer others on God’s behalf.

It is love. Love for the homeless. The orphan. The widow. The refugee. The LGBTQ. The divorced. The single. The childless. The marginalized and alienated. It’s for the people you don’t agree with, and the people you might not even like. Not in spite of sin but because of grace. It’s an equal opportunity love. The times I’ve grown and changed and experienced redemption and freedom from struggle has never once started with shame or hatred. We have to start believing in the power of God’s perfect love-the first fruit of the Spirit- promised to us who have a relationship with Him. That love survived all the hate of the cross. All the weight of our wrongs. It rolled the stone and send Pentecost fire. Love that is far stronger than what divides us. Love that will prevail despite any legalism and judgement we cling to. God doesn’t need your permission to do His work with people, so save those misguided good intentioned phrases.

Accept that love for yourself because we all need it the same, and then share it extravagantly. Hold it loosely. Give it indiscriminately. That is what the world needs now. Love. Just Love. 

And in the words of Pokemon, “Our courage will pull us through/ you teach me, and I’ll teach you/ POKÉMON!” 

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