Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster

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.

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

September 26, 2014 5795

Super Walmart Headed to Hanson, Fate of…

in Top Stories by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
September 27, 2014 3671

Hopkins County Grand Jury Misdemeanor Indictments

in News by Karen McKnight
September 29, 2014 3280

Endless Road Strings Bring Orchestra Mix to…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
September 26, 2014 3268

Drug Sting Results in Meth Trafficking Charge

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 27, 2014 2589

Sinister on Center Takes Haunted Manor to Whole…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
September 26, 2014 2525

UPDATE: Semi Trucks Crash, Block Northbound Lane…

in Top Stories by Keith Todd
September 26, 2014 2523

Muhlenberg Job Corps Recognizes Employee of the…

in Top Stories by Karen Robinson
September 26, 2014 2396

Muhlenberg 911 Service Recipient of $32,500 Grant

in Top Stories by Rebecca Hanchett
September 26, 2014 2393

Madisonville Police Department Arrest Reports -…

in News by Madisonville Police Department
September 29, 2014 2323

One Injured in Single-Vehicle Collision on…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
September 29, 2014 2257

Man, Woman Charged with Violating EPO Against…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

September 26, 2014 3268

Drug Sting Results in Meth Trafficking…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 29, 2014 2323

One Injured in Single-Vehicle Collision…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
September 29, 2014 2257

Man, Woman Charged with Violating EPO…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 25, 2014 2229

Shoplifting Complaint Leads to Resisting…

in Top Stories by Information provided by MPD
September 29, 2014 2004

Man Charged with PI, Drugs, After…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

September 29, 2014 3280

Endless Road Strings Bring Orchestra Mix…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
September 26, 2014 2523

Muhlenberg Job Corps Recognizes Employee…

in Top Stories by Karen Robinson
September 26, 2014 2396

Muhlenberg 911 Service Recipient of…

in Top Stories by Rebecca Hanchett
September 28, 2014 1957

Community Shows Support to Muhlenberg…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
September 28, 2014 1736

Marching Mustangs Take Third in Ohio…

in Top Stories by Information provided by Shawna Hendrix

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