Tag Archives: AG100

A Revival Of Love

I’m sure that Robin Williams’ death came as a shock to you as much as it did to me. How could someone so funny and entertaining lose a fight with depression? How could someone who brought so much happiness to others not be able to find happiness himself? These are the questions I asked when I heard the news. The truth is that he, like so many people, fought an unseen enemy in an arena that no one else can enter. He tried to deal with it the best ways he knew how. Most of which probably weren’t healthy or productive. We can sit and judge or we can watch and learn.

When I saw others post their favorite movie quotes of his, the one that came to my mind was fitting for the way he died. In the movie “Patch Adams”, his character, who was a doctor, said, “You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.” So many times we look past the person and only see their disease, their sin or their faults. We spend so much time attacking the defect that we forget we are dealing with a person. We like to say, “Love the sinner. Hate the sin,” but too often we can’t see the sinner for the sin.

It’s hard to love someone when we are so focused on the thing we hate. When I read the way Jesus was in the New Testament, I see someone who had compassion for the individual person. He saw their sickness, their defect and their sin and He had compassion. Instead of pointing out the sin or disease, He looked at the person and showed love. He knew that when it comes to sin, you treat the person, not the sin. He knew that showing hate for the sin did more harm than good in most instances. Yes, He overthrew some tables a couple of times. Those were when He was upset at the very ones acting in His name. You never read where He got angry at a sinner.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t call sin “sin”. I’m saying we should be quicker to show compassion and love for others than we are to point out their sin. We don’t know what they have been through or what they are facing. What we do know is that we serve a God who forgives no matter what we or they have done. The only way they will see that is if we learn to show love to the sinner and treat the person not the sin. What would happen if we acted out the Golden Rule as if we believed it? You and I can’t forgive sin, so why do we try to treat it? We can however love the sinner, so why not do that instead?

So many people in this world need hope. So many are fighting unseen battles. Too many lose those battles without knowing there is someone who loves them and there is a God who can forgive and heal them. They’re afraid to come out because of what others might say or how they might be treated. If they knew that they would be shown love as a person and not treated as the disease or sin they have, they would be more willing to be open about it. They would get to see God through our actions of love and find forgiveness and healing from their sin. We could in essence start a revival through love. It has to start sometime, why not now? It has to start somewhere, why not with you and me?

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Greater Dreams

I recently heard a preacher say, “Our dreams must be greater than our memories.” Immediately that struck a chord with me. As I continued to think on that phrase and ponder it’s implications, I began to think of examples in the Bible where that was true. I thought of several examples, but the one that stood out to me the most came from the book of Exodus. The Israelites had moved to Israel about 400 years earlier to escape the famine, but they never returned to the land God promised Abraham. Now they had become slaves in a land that was not theirs.

In Exodus 6, God spoke to Moses to tell the people that He would deliver them from slavery and would take them to the land He promised Abraham. When Moses told them what God said, they didn’t even listen. Verse 9 says, “They didn’t even hear him – they were that beaten down in spirit (MSG).” The dream of being free had been forgotten, but God wasn’t done. He wanted to revive that dream. He kept at them until they began to dream again. It culminated with them walking out of Egypt and heading for their Promised Land.

It didn’t take long after they were freed for their memories to become greater than their dreams. In Exodus 16, they began to cry out, “Why didn’t God let us die in Egypt where we had lamb stew and all the bread we could eat?” They forgot that dreams require sacrifice. It’s hard work to make a dream become reality. Instead of putting in that hard work to realize the dream, they did something much easier, they remembered how easy it was before. Given the choice of working hard to achieve their dream or to relax and go back into slavery, they would have rather chosen the later.

It’s easy to sit in judgement thousands of years later, but are we really that different? We have each been given unrealized dreams that we are no where near accomplishing. Why? Because it’s easier to sit and talk about the vision for our life than to accomplish it. It’s not hard to dream. It’s hard to make it a reality. As soon as it gets hard, we start remembering how “good” we had it before. The dream we were given by God gets overpowered by our selective memories of the past. We agree to forfeit our freedom for a meal. So we turn back to go the Land of Ease instead of to the Promised Land.

The dream God has given you will not come without sacrifice. It will not bloom unless it is tended to. It requires you to get up from where you are, to take that step of faith you’ve been afraid of and to move in the direction God tells you to go. It won’t be easy, but nothing good ever is. There will be roadblocks along the way, but don’t let them stop you. Keep the dream God has given you at the forefront of your mind. Don’t let the enemy bring up old memories. Keep pushing them back until you’ve arrived at your destination. When you get there, those old memories won’t be the ones that will make you wish you had never left, they will make you glad you did.

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