I have been reading the book Let Justice Roll Down by John Perkins. He tells the story of the pastor of the Baptist church in his Mississippi town in the early 1960s. Perkins, who is black, had befriended the white pastor and they had reached common ground on their love for the Lord and the Bible and Perkins had developed a white ally for his work with the marginalized and poor in his community. Sadly, Perkins’ pastor friend committed suicide shortly after the start of their friendship. After the funeral, Perkins talked with a member of the Baptist church. She said, “The last few Sundays he had been acting strange. He was talking about love and concern but in a strange way.” Perkins then writes about this encounter, “So it was strange to hear all that talk about love and concern. So sad, I thought. Are love and concern really as rare as all that?”
As Christians, our default mode should be love. Jesus himself says that we will be known as his followers when we love. Sadly, the human default is often anger, fear, selfishness, and greed. When I examine my own heart, I often would much rather turn to anger than understanding, to fear rather than trust, and selfishness rather than love.
My base state is a million miles from love and concern and it takes daily practice and much help from the Holy Spirit to deny myself, take up my cross, follow Jesus, and love in the way of Jesus. One of my prayers lately has been, “Let me love others in the same way that you love me. Blessing everyone that I meet, even those that mistreat me.”*
This might be the most radical thing I can pray for in a given day because for it to be answered would mean it would change the way I drive, the way I talk to my kids, the way I choose a line at the grocery store, the way I view politics, and the way I treat my enemies.
Brian Zahnd says that “the future belongs to love.” My eternal destiny will be in the presence of God, who is love. I will not be able to escape him. Love will inhabit all of eternal life and I will be soaking in it. I might as well start my exposure and practice in it now. It will serve me and all those around me so dramatically better than the non-love that we see around us and are so capable of.
If the future belongs to love, let’s start our future now.
*Taken from a book by Bill Gaultiere called Your Best Life In Jesus’ Easy Yoke.