Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - 'Practice Love'

ronniemcbrayer300 maroonKENTUCKY (5/24/14) — There are some people who, quite frankly, are impossible to love.

You can’t dig deep enough, can’t try hard enough, can’t believe enough, and can’t go far enough to make it happen. And I’m not talking about the likes of Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson, either. If only a few such sinister creatures existed, then the world could sing together one great chorus of “Kum Ba Ya,” and move on to the Promised Land.

No, the unlovable are everywhere, and they are fairly normal people, not sinister monsters who challenge our capacity to love. Bosses, coworkers, in-laws; your rival on the field, in the boardroom, or in the marketplace; your ex-spouse. The guy who cut you off in traffic. The obnoxious mother at your kid’s Little League game. There are some real jerks in the world, and they aren’t too interested in becoming kinder, gentler, more loving people.

The irony in all of this lack of love is that your personal ability to love others has nothing to do with them. And it has nothing to do with you. See, you can’t make yourself love other people, and you can’t make them more loveable.

Real love, if it is love, comes from God. So, if the unlovable people we encounter are going to be objects of any level of affection, and I’m not talking about hot, fiery emotion but genuine, gracious concern, then love is something that God must do through us, to us, and for us, and for others. It’s not something we can produce on our own.

Instead, we must get to know God better; be more receptive to the Divine; become more trusting of who God is and what God can do, and less confident in our own limited abilities. The more this relationship deepens, the more of God’s love we experience; and the more of God’s love we experience, then the more loving we become.

So if we start with the source of love, rather than starting at a hoped for outcome and work backwards, we get what we really need, and we are empowered to become people who are patient, kind, and unselfish. We become the kind of people who, as the ancient Church Father Clement of Alexandria put it, “practice being God,” for “God is love” (as the Apostle John put it), and those who know God best love the deepest.

But doesn’t that seem counterintuitive to much of what we witness in the world of faith? Those who know God best love the deepest? This would appear not to be the case. To hear the tale told, those who know God best are those who are the most doctrinally entrenched, the most committed to their particular dogma, denominationalism, or neo-puritanism.

Those who claim to know God the best are often the most inflexible, stubborn, and most difficult with which to work. Those who are the most “spiritual” can simultaneously be the most ungracious and unloving. Yet, this is a horrible oxymoron, inconsistent with a genuine relationship with God.

I interact with people all the time who think the solution to Christianity’s contemporary troubles is “more.” We need “more doctrinal statements; more declarations of what we believe, more clarification of right and wrong, more lines to determine who is in and who is out.” I would agree that the answer is “more,” for sure. But it is more God, resulting in more love, and that will make the difference.

The objections to such conclusions I hear all the time as well: “If we only focus on love, we’ll wander into all manner of error and heresy,” some will say. Maybe. But we cannot ignore the fact that the greatest act of sacrilege has nothing to do with doctrine. The greatest act of sacrilege is the failure to love one another.

We might have all of our doctrinal “T’s” crossed and our authoritative “I’s” dotted, but if we aren’t allowing the love of God to flow through us to others, then we have a lot of practice still to do.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author. His newest book is “The Gospel According to Waffle House.” You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

In Other News...

Hopkins County Board of Education Prepares Budget

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (9/23/14) ― The working budget approved by the Hopkins County Board of Education at its Monday, Sept.… Read More

Single Vehicle Injury Collision on Clark Store Sinking Fork Road

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (9/22/14) — The Kentucky State Police investigated a single-vehicle, injury collision that occurred… Read More

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

September 19, 2014 4865

Madisonville Man Among Three Arrested for…

in Top Stories by Muhlenberg Sheriff Curtis McGehee
September 20, 2014 3748

Large Cache of Drugs, Cash, Gun Seized;…

in Top Stories by MCSO PIO Alex Piper
September 19, 2014 2885

Five Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision at…

in Top Stories by MPD Officer Russell Nichols
September 22, 2014 2649

Medical Emergency Ends in Drug Arrest at…

in News by Madisonville Police Department
September 19, 2014 2558

Focus on Hopkins County: Crossfire

in News by Focus on Hopkins County

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

September 19, 2014 2885

Five Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision at…

in Top Stories by MPD Officer Russell Nichols
September 22, 2014 1913

Man Arrested for Slashing Tires

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 22, 2014 1674

Man Strikes Tree, Arrested for DUI,…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 19, 2014 1528

My Kentucky Roads - Twin Maples Farm in…

in Top Stories by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
September 20, 2014 1223

Teams Race to Benefit Hopkins County…

in Top Stories by Ami Clayton, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

September 20, 2014 1156

Man Charged with Theft After KSP…

in Top Stories by Alexis McGee
September 19, 2014 925

STREET CLOSINGS FOR MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

in Top Stories by Abby Shelton
September 19, 2014 911

Police Searching for Hit-And-Run Driver

in Top Stories by Jennifer Smith, DCSO
September 22, 2014 485

Buffalo Paint Out Brings Regional Artists…

in Top Stories by Owensboro Museum of Fine Art
September 19, 2014 414

Owensboro Museum of Fine Art News

in Top Stories by Owensboro Museum of Fine Art

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

September 20, 2014 3748

Large Cache of Drugs, Cash, Gun Seized;…

in Top Stories by MCSO PIO Alex Piper
September 20, 2014 1812

Paradise NRA Banquet Promises Food, Fun,…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
September 22, 2014 1792

Third Suspect Charged in Greenville Home…

in Top Stories by MCITF PIO Wes Miller
September 22, 2014 1158

Muhlenberg Bass Team Members Score…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
September 22, 2014 1122

Hundreds Turn Out for Greenville Festival

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 03social 04social 22social 21social 06