"Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love."
Before we move on, let me just say one more thing about how I think the Church may be leading us astray and then I'll try to stop church bashing.
This is going to be a hard thing to say without sounding heretical to some, but here goes. It seems to me that the Church has overemphasized The Messenger and under-emphasized The Message. Please don't misunderstand. I don't mean to minimize Christ or His redemptive work on the cross. It's just that His very presence here on Earth embodied a Message. How He lived and what He said and how He died all embody a Message that I believe has been minimized in favor of focusing on The Messenger. The Church is so engrossed in getting people to "accept Christ into their hearts" so that they can be "saved," that it can't see the forest through the trees. The Church is so busy trying to insist upon the inerrancy of Scripture, the virgin birth and the Deity of Christ, that The Message of God and Scripture to us has been lost!
You may ask, what Message are you talking about?
The Message I'm talking about is Love = Self Sacrifice.
I won't quote Scripture at you, but here are a few examples of The Message:
- Jesus' incarnation. He sacrificed His spiritual Deity to become a man.
- Jesus tells us that the first shall be last and the last shall be first.
- Jesus tells us that if someone robs us of our shirt we should give him our coat as well.
- Jesus tells the rich young ruler to give all he has to the poor and follow Him.
- Jesus tells us that we must become like children (without rights or status) to receive the kingdom of God.
- Jesus tells us that we must be "born again" (without rights or status) to see the kingdom of God.
- Paul tells us that he was crucified with Christ (sacrificing his own life in the process).
- Jesus says if someone slaps you on the cheek, give him the other as well.
- Paul says that when he is weak, then he is strong.
- John the Baptist says of Christ, "He must increase, but I must decrease."
- Jesus taught that he who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.
- Paul discourages lawsuits saying "why not rather be wronged?"
- Jesus taught that there is no greater love than that one lay down his life for his friends. And then He did it.
I could go on for a very long time. These may be trite examples to you. But, taken together they form an incredible Message that leads you back again and again to the idea that
Love = Self Sacrifice
Jesus inextricably equated belief with obedience and change. So, if we don't practice The Messenger's Message, where does that leave us? And, that question brings us to "how?"
More to follow...