We had a saying during the mission years–those years in the ’70’s when a small group of us had come out of the world system and had lived and worked together–all of us longing to become more like Christ.
It went like this: “Love Tom and save the world.” Tom was our teacher and mentor. He was also the one who did the correcting and the admonishing. And we all at one time or another bristled at his rebukes, our egos being bruised.
Of course, the saying can contain anyone’s name–anyone, that is, that you are having a problem with. “Love ______________and save the world. You fill in the blank with the person that is the most difficult for you to love today. For if you can do that, then you will have arrived where God wants you in your Christian growth. You will have in your vessel the Spirit of God Himself, who is Love. And with the power that comes from His presence of Love inside of you, you can then save the world. And, boy, does it need saving right now.
I am getting a fuller understanding of that old saying today, almost 40 years later. If we can humble ourselves enough to ask God to grant to us His loving and forgiving nature to love that person who we are having trouble loving, then we will have manifested God in the flesh of our bodies.
In the normal everyday walk of our lives, certain people enter whose actions we despise. They grate on us and both irritate and disgust us. My earthly sister was such a person. She was a drug addict–addicted to hydrocodone for 40 years. She played my poor old mother, who was her enabler. She stole from her–even my mom’s pain pills that her broken down 80 year old back needed. Many times my sister left her without medication for two weeks. This went on for decades. My darling mother suffered greatly because of her.
I tried to get my mom to forsake her, the tough love Bible way–to not let her use her, but Mom could not do it. We buried Mom in June of last year. And to this day, my sister has never apologized for all of the lies and thefts and shame she brought upon our family.
Now my sister lays up in an intensive care bed with tubes running out of her face. And I visited her, and told her I loved her and prayed for her that God would comfort her. And although she could not open her eyes, tears washed over her eyelids and began to fill the sockets. I know that she is feeling bad about things she has done.
My sister before this latest bout has really been trying, but because so much dirty water has passed under the bridge, it is difficult to love her. I do love her with a earthly family love. But I mean it is difficult to love her with a deep, resounding, joyful love.
And so the memory of that old saying from the mission clangs on my heart tonight. ” Love her and save the world.” I should be like that man who woke up from a dream and had the revelation that he should begin today to forgive everybody!
We are told by our Master to pray, asking the Father, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” What debts is He talking about? A debt means that we owe something, but what do we owe? “Owe no man anything but to love one another.” To love each other–that is our debt!
So we ask God to forgive us when we don’t love each other, and He does this as we forgive those who don’t love us as they should. This is us forgiving their debt of love to us.
So we need to realize that, yes, other human beings owe us love, but most are in their selfish, carnal nature that prevents them. So we should just pray, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” They do not realize that they should love everyone.
Our debt, then, is to love one another. We need to have an attitude of forgiveness to all who don’t love us. And here is the kicker: This is what God does. And if each Seed bears its own kind, we as His seed, His children, should do the same as He does, which is loving the unloveable. Kenneth Wayne Hancock