Friday, May 25, 2012

So God Is Love? eeeh sorta

"I Love You So Much I don't Want to See you get Hurt!". These words were spoken by a father to a seven year old son who was attempting to climb outside of his two-story home by way of window ledge and got stuck, hanging on with his little boy hands to the wooden frame of the window. The panicked father grabbed the boy by the arms and pulled him in with such force the boy landed across the room. The father stated the above and walked out of the room, visibly shaken and trying to regain his composure. Much is said of our Heavenly Father loving us. "God is Love" is used alot. Its a passage from 1 John 4:8 and other references throughout the scriptures and there is no doubt that this is true. What seems to be lost in translation for us today is just what does this Love mean? How are we defining that Love? The question bears some thoughtfulness. Another very popular passage is John 3:16 which every kid learns at Vacation Bible School or Sunday School or wherever, and I would imagine that even non-church folks have heard it somewhere "For God so Loved the world that ....". yes. I left off the last part on purpose. Because God loved the world so much what? The what is...He did something. "God as Love" isn't a state of being as much as a state of purpose or action. When we love something we do things to show it through some action, whether that be saying it, buying flowers for our special someone, endulging in their interests when it isn't ours, spending time, and many other things. Sometimes our demonstration of love is different. We tell our children "NO" in certain circumstances because we know from experience that some behaviors are injurious. We teach them at an early age to look both ways before crossing a street. To not touch a hot stove top. To bundle up when dressing for a cold day. God isn't much different with his children. As the story above illustrates, God Loves Us So Much he doesn't want to see us get hurt. Beat up. Harm ourselves. Make bad life choices that He knows are not in our best interests. Not look both ways when crossing the street. Engaging in behaviors that have life long consequences in both the physical as well as mental realm. And as children, we often rebel against this Love. This Love that infringes upon our self-determination that we know best for us. We do not like being told that certain behaviors are not pleasing to God because it is pleasing to us. Our hedonistic desires compell us to be self pleasure seeking. As a child, we have all engaged in behavior that we were told not to by our parents or grandparents because they knew of the dangers that we were not aware of, or chose to ignore. Many times we were caught doing so, or by injuring ourselves our parents found out. I am reminded of that iconic scene in the movie "A Christmas Story" when Ralphie finally does get his Red Ryder BB Gun for christmas from his father (against his mother's wishes). As stated throughout the movie, when Ralphie would say he wanted one for christmas, everyone's response was "you'll shoot your eye out". And of course he almost does. Did his dad let him almost shoot his eye out? of course not. His father loved him so much he wanted to see his Son happy and bought him the gun anyway. Sometimes Love involves risks. Sometimes it has consequences. But it is not stagnant. It is action. Lately it seems that we have confused Love with something that is more akin to a vaste space of limitless acceptance where we are no longer responsible for ourselves or others. A place where guidance and wisdom is viewed as judgement. A place where long held and time trusted value systems are no longer regarded as relevant. A place where christians are no longer allowed to engage the culture. Where it is no longer okay to tell a child to look both ways before crossing the street without having to explain why. We are doing a disservice to our world with this approach. People are getting hurt. They are lost in a sea of secular culture that debases human relationships to their lowest of levels. A culture that promotes the famous Nike marketing of "just do it" without considering the consequences for the person or the collatoral damage the actions have on others. There are healhty boundaries that we are aware of but are becoming increasingly silent about for fear of being lambasted by those who do not wish to hear. It is sad to see that little boy hanging onto the window frame with his tiny little boy hands...and no father coming to his rescue. ~npp