Faye Bryant

If you really loved…

How often have you heard “if you really loved….” followed by things that weren’t right or good or scriptural?

When I was a teen, I read a book about a teen girl who made choices that left her pregnant and alone. The guy had pushed her to the determining choice with, “If you loved me, you would.” Most abusers will use the phrase often to get their way. These are, however, very skewed views of love, and a huge part of the damage of emotional abuse – causing the abused to not know what love really is, often sending them seeking the same kind of “love” over and over.

The Apostle Paul wrote these words to a group of people who believed in Christ for salvation but were part of a culture of great promiscuity and injustice. On a major trade route, Corinth was a happening metropolis of its day. Different cultures came and went, along with their ways. Sin ran rampant. The concept of love was skewed. Paul wanted to set these folks straight, and thus explained what love is not, then what love is.

“It [love] does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out,” Paul wrote.

Let’s just get down and dirty here today.
If you are rejoicing about the inequities of life that affect other people, God’s version of love is not part of you. You need to change that. On the other hand, if you are rejoicing about things that God calls evil and are against Him, His version of love is not part of you. You need to change that.

It’s okay if you disagree with me. Get mad at me for stating it that way, but please, allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you as He will about the love that exists in you.

God’s love is for all people, including the ones who look different than us, who speak different languages, who eat different foods, who are different. Thank God, or those of us who are not Jews would be in a real pickle!

Unlike humans, God has a very specific definition of justice. He doesn’t stray from that. He doesn’t make concession for that. Anything outside that definition, any excuse that keeps us from it, is just plain wrong. Sin. Unloving.

God also has a very specific definition of truth and it never wavers. Truth is truth, period. There are no shades of truth. It either is or isn’t, and we should celebrate when it is revealed, when it wins. We should grieve when it is trampled and lost.

This is so hard, especially in our world today. We want to be found loving. We want to care about the right things. We are told by media, meme, and post that if we really loved we would do this and wouldn’t do that. If we don’t do this, we can’t call ourselves followers of Christ.

I believe that has hurt so many believers. I also believe it has challenged the thinking of many believers. The good news is, we do not have to rely on other humans to tell us what love looks like, or whether we really love. God has given us the Holy Spirit to show us that. If we are challenged by the words of a person, post, or meme, if we hear of something in the media, all we have to do is ask the Spirit of God living in us whether what was said is truth. Truth in general or truth about us.

It’s high time we stop letting culture and the people around us determine how we live, leaving God out of the equation. He IS the equation. Beginning, middle, end. All the factors. If we want to live a life pleasing to Him, we must remain in close relationship with Him, constantly checking in with His Spirit for guidance, wisdom, and comfort.

Let’s start that today. Let’s check in with the Spirit. Simply ask God to reveal any unloving parts in you that are displeasing to Him – regardless what anyone else says. Listen for His answer. It won’t come audibly. You’ll “hear” Him in your heart through recalled scripture and concepts. Make sure what you’re hearing is from the Word by verifying it yourself to be His. Then, whatever you learn from Him about your question, walk it out. Day by day, moment by moment.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.