|Posted on June 1, 2018 at 12:40 PM|
A Balanced Love
By Skip Heitzig
Did you know that if your love has no boundaries, it's dangerous? True love requires a love for the truth. As the apostle Paul said, love "does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth" (1 Corinthians 13:6). If we don't take a balanced approach to expressing God's love to others, then that love becomes a permission slip to do anything: "After all, God loves me. I can do anything, and He'll still love me."
Yes, you could keep on sinning, and Jesus would still love you. But if you come to Him for salvation and claim to be His follower, He expects you to turn away from your old lifestyle. He loves broken, sinful people, but He doesn't want them to stay that way. That's because He is perfectly holy and just and will one day judge unrepentant sin.
So how can you find balance in the way you love? Here are three things to keep in mind:
1. Be balanced theologically. Frankly, too many people place too much emphasis on the loving side of God's nature. We love to quote 1 John 4:8--"God is love"--but I wonder how many of us have Psalm 7:11 underlined in our Bibles: "God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day."God is perfectly holy and just, demanding a penalty for sin. Without punishing sin, He would be unjust in forgiving sin. But because He's also perfectly loving, He was compelled to pay that penalty Himself. That's what the cross is all about. And that's the theological balance we should aim for.
2. Be bold spiritually. Paul the apostle is a great example of this--just read Romans 2:5-8: "In accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who 'will render to each one according to his deeds': eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness--indignation and wrath."
Most people probably would have walked out on this speech at the very beginning. But as Paul said in Romans 1:16, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes." You live in a society that is doing everything it can to make you feel ashamed of the gospel--but you have nothing to be ashamed of. So stand up, speak out, and boldly oppose your culture and its ideas.
3. Be bountiful and generous practically. In Romans 2:4, Paul talked about the riches of God's goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering. Those words describe God's approach to a sinful world--and they ought to describe our approach, too. Our tone toward people should be one of loving-kindness and bountiful tenderness. Maintaining an open hand is better than pointing a finger, even when it's so easy to fall into finger pointing.
You will attract more unbelievers with kindness than with correctness--but you don't have to sacrifice one for the other. It's a tough little dance, but you can be doctrinally, theologically, and biblically correct, and balance that with a tone of kindness and sincere love. I pray your love would follow that mold this week, being balanced, bold, and bountiful.
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