The Dignity of Love

The Holy Spirit reveals to me that God loved me not because I was lovable, but because it was His nature to do so. Now He commands me to show the same love to others by saying, “… love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Oswald Chambers

landscapehdwalls.com

landscapehdwalls.com

Jesus doesn’t see a prostitute, a tax collector, a liberal, a conservative, a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a drug addict, an LGBT*, or someone who has had an abortion. He sees a child of God and he loves us deeply.

Jesus didn’t exclude, he invited. He didn’t seek out vice, he sought virtue. He didn’t disgrace, he offered dignity. We are here to do the same – to be imitators of God.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

Eugene Peterson’s The Message pulls out the meat of this verse beautifully:

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

Those who don’t understand this kind of love have a diminished view of the Gospel. Those who think their only call is to evangelize and convert haven’t taken the fullness of God’s love and peace into their hearts.

He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.  If you had known what ‘I want mercy, not sacrifices’ means, you would not have condemned innocent people.” (Matthew 9:13, 12:7)

The nations include our own nation. And no matter who we are, what we to or have done, we are unified by the same Jesus who sacrificed his earthly life for us to be his brothers and sisters in love and grace in the family of God. We are all children of the Father. We have the same Holy Spirit inside who was inside Jesus and his disciples. We are not to judge or pull out verses to condemn people; we are to offer mercy and grace to all so the light of Jesus is reflected to all.

In order to be a light, we must allow God to remove any and all harshness, shaming, and value judgments.

This love Christ asks of us isn’t weak; it isn’t easy to maintain. This love is not reactive, it is responsive. In order to offer it, we must practice daily wholly surrendering our own feelings and thoughts; mind and heart; opinions and actions to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. These are the rivers of living water he told us we would have flowing from within our hearts. (John 7:38)

The alternative to fresh, flowing, living water is a cistern holding stale, putrid water no good for drinking, no good for healing, no good for delivering.

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13

 *BTW, homosexual in the Greek is arsenokoites – (Strong’s 733; GK 780), the same word for homosexuality, heterosexual oral and anal sex, bestiality, and pedophilia. Western culture used to lump these same things together in our own “dark ages,” before we became a more enlightened society.
Anyone judging monogamous homosexuality a sin and continuing to liken it to bestiality and pedophilia, then, must also confess your own heterosexual oral sex as sin. Sorry boys and girls – we either step back into the DARK, dark ages, or step out into the true light of Christ’s love. We did it with slavery; we can do it with this.

31 comments

  1. As I was reading this, I was thinking how it applied to the situation we have today with homosexuality, and then I read the ending.
    So much I am still considering on that topic!
    Thanks for this write up!

    Like

    1. You’re so welcome, Ann. We must extend the welcomeness of Christ to all outsiders. He came to save, and his love with dignity came first. We must follow.

      Thank you for your openness and consideration.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Melissa · ·

    Do you have an email address, I have a question for you 🙂

    Like

  3. […] The Holy Spirit reveals to me that God loved me not because I was lovable, but because it was His nature to do so. Now He commands me to show the same love to others by saying, “… love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). (The dignity of love: Susan Irene Fox – https://susanirenefox.com/2015/05/15/the-dignity-of-love/) […]

    Like

  4. Reading this post and the comments here, I was reminded of the huge power of this bloggy church. How “what do you do” is never the first question. How the labels of daily living are put to one side. That the heart and soul of each is what goes into each page. Is what each who reads takes.
    It is that one Q&A in face-face meetings we seem unable to avoid … “And what do you do?” With the immediate compartmentalising and labelling which follows.
    I have just realised why I dislike the “CV précis” some give here of themselves. A list of qualifications and achievements. It gets in the way.
    And you have just connected that thought, this post and another “soap box” in the making! Thank you ((hug))

    Like

    1. Thanks, Paul. Just loving the best I can for whoever chooses to receive it. Really, it’s what GSHJ has put upon me, the way I can best move the gospel forward, the task I’ve taken on to open the door when others have closed it.

      Thank you, brother, for understanding and continuing the thread. (( hugs )) back.

      Like

      1. ((hugs))

        Liked by 1 person

  5. “Jesus doesn’t see a prostitute, a tax collector, a liberal, a conservative, a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a drug addict, an LGBT*, or someone who has had an abortion. He sees a child of God and he loves us deeply.” I just love the way you worded this! This shows the true love of the Lord! God bless have an awesome weekend!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much. I pray your weekend is better than your Friday. May He show Himself to you in a new way and lift you up in joy and compassion, my friend. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you sister! It has turned around a little. God bless!

        Like

  6. Amen Susan well said. Taking up our cross and daily walking with Jesus. Trusting him to get us through. This allows for agape love. No fear or judgment not our place.

    Much love Tom

    Like

    1. Hard for us humans to achieve agape love, Tom, but it doesn’t absolve us from the attempt.

      Thank you as always for your encouraging and loving comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love reading your heart. So passionate and hungry.

        Much love Tom

        Liked by 1 person

  7. “We have the same Holy Spirit inside who was inside Jesus and his disciples. We are not to judge or pull out verses to condemn people; we are to offer mercy and grace to all so the light of Jesus is reflected to all.”
    Amen and amen! I love this, Susan. The Kingdom of God is built on a culture of honor. We are to no longer regard one another according to the flesh but according to who we are in Christ (2 Cor.5:16). When we know who we are in Christ, we will see Him in others too.

    Like

    1. Oh, thank you, Mel. Your comment means so much. Bless you, sweet brother.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Melissa · ·

    You are pure awesomeness sister

    Like

    1. Oh, wow, thank you, Melissa. ❤

      Like

  9. Steven Acesta · ·

    Beautifully written Susan.

    Like

    1. Wow, thanks Steve. Nice to hear from you. 🙂

      Like

  10. Thank you, thank you, thank you for such an excellent post! Your words are my thoughts on the matter exactly, drawn from Christ’s example of welcome inclusiveness. If He hadn’t opened his arms so wide to welcome all sinners and to be crucified for us, we would all be lost, every single one of us. I think it is easy for us to classify “big sins” and “little sins,” but the fact is we’ve all sinned. As we have been loved and forgiven, we should love and forgive… I’m going to share a link to your post on my blog, if that is ok?

    Like

    1. I’d be honored for you to share a link, Elaine.

      For some reason, we don’t balk at judgment, but we put boundaries around our acceptance and love. Jesus never did that. He gavea rather compelling and uncomfortable example of this in his exchange with the Syrophoenician woman (Matt 15:22-28). Jesus wasn’t denigrating her, he was imitating us.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is the hardest thing to do, of all. Love people we find unlovable. I struggle with it all the time. Thank you for the reminder.

    Like

    1. We all struggle with it, Beth. God’s love is boundless and it is His to judge.
      In the end, isn’t it better for us to aim for boundless love and let Him tell us we didn’t judge enough, than aim for judgment and have him tell us we didn’t love enough?

      Like

  12. Amen Susan Irene fox

    Like

    1. Thank you, James. We all have to work to discover the meaning of this word, “love.” It’s not a simple thing. None of Jesus’ words were said without thought or intention.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Lori K · ·

    Amen! Beautiful photo, and beautiful post 🙂 I have only recently discovered Oswald Chambers’ work, and would like to start collecting his books. Any suggestions on which book to start with would be helpful!

    Like

    1. Thanks, Lori. His daily devotional, My Utmost For His Highest, is the one I’ve been reading for years. I get something new from it each time I read it.

      Like

      1. Lori K · ·

        Thanks for the suggestion…and for blogging!

        Like

      2. 🙂 You’re welcome, Lori.

        Like

%d bloggers like this: