Love is the Way to Live

The hot topics that divide and create hostility between Christians and the culture call for love and understanding without judgment.

By Pastor Tom Albrecht

Years ago, pastor and author Jerry Cook shared a statement with 3 things that have changed my approach to the culture we are now living in. He said:

Love is not license, acceptance is not agreement, and forgiveness is not compromise.
— Jerry Cook

As we navigate the stormy seas of change and beliefs we could easily get capsized by the angry waves of post-modern thinking. The generation that has been influenced by a secular worldview has now raised its voice in opposition to what has been described as "old thinking" and a biblical world view.

These voices have provoked thoughts of anger and frustration among Bible-believing leaders and Christians, but also a deep concern for the eternal destiny of souls. The worst thing we could do is to engage in political wranglings or become dismissive toward a generation we say we love and care for.

I've had some conversations that didn't end well because of my own frustrations with powerful people who assume the goal of the interaction was to "win" the debate.

More and more I am seeking to build bridges of communication that open doors to the heart rather than building walls that alienate and stop the free exchange of ideas and thoughts. The hot topics that divide and create hostility between Christians and the culture call for love and understanding without judgment.

There is a standard of biblical order and design that cannot be compromised in order to gain a hearing, but we cannot declare war on a culture we want to influence. We cannot change the culture by any argument or debate, but we can influence a culture and offer an alternative to the constant changes and shifts in lifestyles and beliefs - if we lovingly seek opportunities to show the heart of Father God.

God's dealings with his people in the Old Testament was to show the need for living within the laws of his covenant. The New Testament focused on revealing the loving heart of Father God. Jesus came to demonstrate and fully reveal the heart of God, John 3:16 is the best-known expression of the gospel:

"for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life."  

Whatever system of study you may use to understand the Bible and the nature and character of God, it must look like Jesus.

To quote Bill Johnson, "Jesus is perfect theology." When you see Jesus, you see the heart of the Father. God chose each person to be saved because he loves his creation, he accepted us through the death and resurrection of his son Jesus who paid for our sin. He forgives each person who confesses their need of him and turns to God.

There is a response required, we must choose to receive the gift of salvation. Choosing to follow Jesus will result in realizing that this love that saves is not a license to live our lives by our own rules or standards. God accepts us before we surrender to him but he does not agree with our sinful behavior, he forgives and saves completely but does not compromise his righteousness and nature.

As the song heard some time ago says "all you need is love," our world needs the love of God expressed by Christians, an acceptance not rejection of the people God loved and gave his Son Jesus to save; yet without agreeing with lifestyles that violate his creative order, and an extravagant forgiveness without compromising the requirement of full surrender.

We must meet the culture where they are and let love and the Holy Spirit do his work through us.