A reoccurring thought keeps coming to my consciousness, do we love people the way Christ taught? Do we love people like God does? I fear we don’t.
If we look objectively at our local church out reach and our global mission out reach I believe we will find the following to be true.
We tend to love only those we think we can add to our particular brand of Christianity, and get credit for doing so.
Quite an indictment huh? Is it fair? I believe so. Please notice I said “we”, I must include myself to my shame.
What do we do as a Christian community to feed the hungry, with no strings attached? In the context of the churches of Christ, why is it true that our benevolence is mostly received by other church of Christ people? (The same is true of other church groups)
Even some of our evangelistic efforts are done under the guise of wanting to “help” the people. The truth is we wouldn’t give them a second look if we knew we had no chance of eventually baptising them.
I think what Jesus had in mind, even the radical idea of loving our enemies, was to put our love in shoe leather with no hidden agenda.
I recently got an object lesson in how to love from a group of Catholic high school boys from Manhattan, NY. The Xavier school, of Jesuit Catholics, were on their third trip to Bayou La Batre to help a small group of church of Christ people reach out to their community. There were about twenty boys with three teachers and an administrator. Each had raised his own support for the trip and they each paid $30 per day to the Hemley Rd church for food and lodging, such as it is. (No heat or air conditioning). And, they provided the money for building materials and brought a contractor with them on loan from Habitat for Humanity. They worked very hard for a week repairing homes.
Some of these boys have been back on their own, at their own expense three or four times. Their only motive is to help the hurting, to love people like Jesus taught.
While I don’t agree with their theology, I fully agree with the way they love in Jesus stead as they understand his teachings.
There have been several other groups who are not church of Christ people, who have come and given themselves to the people of the Bayou in remarkable ways whose only apparent motive was to serve others.
Let’s see….when was the last time I volunteered my time to help a Catholic relief effort or even less threatening, when did I volunteer at a local soup kitchen or work on a house with Habitat for Humanity?
Perhaps I still have some “Crazy Love” paragraphs bouncing around in my brain after reading Francis Chan’s challenging book. Whatever the reason I am not too happy with the way I love others or the way my people do.
Conditional love? I don’t think so…