All We Need is Love, Love is All We Need
Of course you know what song I'm referring to in the title. Thanks to the Beatles, that song has been sung by probably millions. It's probably been sung in many of different countries and many different languages. It's sort of a cliché phrase that get thrown around on social media, in the news, even in person, but I don't think it's cliché at all. I think there is definite truth to what John, Paul, George, and Ringo were preaching. As a woman who calls herself a Christian, I find it unfortunate that I haven't seen love as much as I would hope. When someone asks the public what they think of when they think of Christians I honestly don't think the word "love" comes up as often as it should. You might here the words "judgmental" or "hypocrites". You might here someone talk about how Christians are associated with Jesus or the church. But love? Maybe from a few, but not the majority.
I have had my own fair share of judgement tossed at me and most, sadly, come from "my people". I can't say that I was always the perfect Christian, in fact, I'll even go as far as saying I am probably one of the least perfect "Christians" around. I've made mistakes. I might not have always followed every rule. I probably didn't go to church EVERY Sunday. And I may have said a few curse words when angry. BUT, throughout my life I have always loved God and loved people the best I can.
I remember being at summer camp once, in middle school, and seeing a boy alone on the swing set. He was kind of the "outcast" at camp. He didn't have the popular clothes and was a little...well...different. But instead of ignoring the fact that he was by himself, and continuing on to my group of friends, I decided to stop and say hey. I mean, how could anyone just pass up a human being as if they do not exist? This is definitely NOT to toot my own horn, but more to show what these kind of displays of love can do for someone. When I stopped, I sat on the swings and talked with him for a little bit. He seemed so happy to have a friend! I'll never forget the smile that came across his face. I mean, isn't this what it's all about?
Jesus was a man who, despite claiming to be the son of God (you can choose to believe that or not), hung out with all the outcasts. Think about that for a second...imagine you are the KING (or Queen) of the entire universe and you still decide to hang with the sick, the poor, the "uncool"? With all the power and fame you have you still decide to kick it with people who can do NOTHINC for you and who have NOTHING to give you besides their friendship. What?!
Why was it so hard for me to find this kind of love INSIDE the church? Why was I constantly feeling left out with certain cliques? Constantly doubting my self worth. Constantly wondering why I wasn't good enough for them. We both believed in the same God. We both SHOULD have the same values. So, what's wrong with me?
Its incredible to me how easy it was to find love and acceptance outside of the church. My group of friends from high school - most whom choose not to associate with a specific religion, but rather have certain moral values or standards - have been the most loving and accepting people I have ever met. It's probably why we have all been friends for so long. There's no drama, no talking trash, no judgement, no inequality, no hate. And it's not only that way to people who are "in" our group, but also to the "newbies". I'm never scared to bring new friends around because I know they will love and accept them as much as they do everyone else. Does that mean we all agree with EVERYTHING? Haha, no. We all definitely have our own opinions, some that are even exact opposites, but that doesn't change our love for each other. Do we always support/agree everyone's decisions? Not necessarily. There are times where one, or a few, will confront one because that person is making a stupid decision and since we care we say "hey, don't make that stupid decision, we love you." Well it's not that cut and dry, but you know what I mean. How many of you can honestly say you have friends where you could bring ANYONE around and not be worried? It's very rare to find this in my experience.
My husband and I attend a church in Kenosha. One who's standards are similar to what I am talking about today. They have taken to heart the top two commandments Jesus spoke of: Love God and love each other. That's probably why we feel so comfortable there, even after making our big, big mistake (see last post). In fact, recently they had this excerpt from Philip Yancey's book "Vanishing Grace" posted on the back of their program. It reads...
"Come as you are. Married, divorced, or single here, it's one family that mingles here. Conservative or liberal here, we've all got to give a little here. Big or small here, there's room for us all here. Doubt or believe here, we all can receive here. Gay or straight here, there's no hate here. Woman or man here, everyone CAN here. Whatever your race here, for ALL of us GRACE here. In imitation of the ridiculous love the Almighty God has for all of us, let us live, and love, without labels."
This truly captures the ultimate goal and I think if we could stop and decide to start treating ALL with love instead of labeling one another we could change the world for the better. You never know what someone could have gone through, or be currently going through. And you never know what kind of an impact you could have by ignoring them or better yet by embracing them. There's two paths that you can take: embrace and accept the person, open up your arms to them and display love OR walk away and don't look back. Either choice WILL affect that persons life. So which will you decide to choose?