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

October 20, 2014 6931

Uncle Lee's in Greenville is Closing Its Doors…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by www.unclelees.com
October 19, 2014 4699

Kentucky Energy Department Releases Virtual Solar…

in General News For All Sites by Dick Brown
October 21, 2014 3470

UPDATE: Pedestrian Struck by Vehicle on Shamrock…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer C.P. Haynie
October 22, 2014 2939

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

in Hopkins News by Karen McKnight
October 23, 2014 2918

Resident Returns Home to People Using Drugs,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 20, 2014 2898

Man Charged for Assaulting Pregnant Wife

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 21, 2014 2850

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 21, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 20, 2014 2647

Hopkins County Sheriff's Arrest Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Sheila Hopper
October 22, 2014 2361

Failure to Signal Ends in Drug Arrest

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 22, 2014 2297

Convicted Felon Charged for Handgun Possession…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke

Stories Trending Today

October 24, 2014 1439

Woman Arrested for Allegedly Reporting Check…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 24, 2014 1241

Central City Man Charged with Sexual Assault on…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Chris Cooper
October 24, 2014 1011

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 24, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 23, 2014 967

Don Everly to be Part of Rock and Roll Hall of…

in Top News For All Sites by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 24, 2014 967

Miners Turn Out in Madisonville for…

in Top News For All Sites by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
October 24, 2014 914

Tail Light Out Traffic Stop Turns to Drug Arrest

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 24, 2014 810

Family Looking for 'Runner'

in Hopkins News by Lisa Crook
October 24, 2014 794

County Renews Career Advancement Lease

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
October 23, 2014 737

Security Officer Offers Identity Theft Protection…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
October 24, 2014 730

Baldwin, Crist and Saint Selected to 2014 Second…

in Hopkins Sports by Troy Crist

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


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

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss