There is a long way to come before I feel “perfected” in Christ. This morning in Sunday school, the senior high teens and I were studying through the second chapter in the book, The Story of God, by Michael Lodahl. In this chapter, he talks about John Wesley and three things that are the hallmarks of a theology of Wesleyan Holiness. John Wesley never set out to start a new church, he never intended to begin a movement; he was a man possessed and encompassed by the love of God and love for others. It really was as simple as that. His theology is a love that encompasses every person that he came into contact with and that meant even loving those who disagreed with him.
Wesley’s example of love in this light is difficult to find in our theologies of today. So many Christians are caught up in all the ways we differ in opinion instead of being closely intimate with the one way we all agree; that we must first love God with all our hearts and minds, and love others with our lives. We have missed the boat when all we do is argue about who is sinning, who is unrighteous, who is misguided and going the wrong way. How can the people of this world see the love we have for them, when we are hardly showing that love to one another as Christians?
This has specifically come into context within our ministry here in Hermiston. The former youth pastor and his wife are still in town, and it seems as though most the church here is wondering how we will respond to their presence. This couple worked hard in the church, loved the teens deeply, and went through devastating loss during their ministry here. They have and will always have a strong connection with these people, and after meeting this particular lady, I really like her. I have yet to meet her husband, but I am sure he is just as nice. You see, they are in the ministry still. They do not really fit the context that I describe above, but it seems as though everyone is waiting for us to be mad about them, and honestly I have no idea what we would be mad about. We love them, just like we love everyone else here. We pray that God blesses and creates for them a place in ministry that He is specifically calling them to. As Christians, there is no us vs. them thinking here, it is all of us.
The problem comes down to is that people fear the unknown. They are afraid that if they have to do something awkward, and be someone they are not completely comfortable with and know from the past, then they do not want to be that at all. But God has called us to be different. He has called us to love unreasonably, extend unmerited grace, and show mercy to all. I am going to choose what God is asking for me to do, because I have discovered through the years that the way I want to do it, often fails miserably.
How have you been asked to love when everyone else is expecting something else?