“What do you mean?”
My friend prods, asking me to explain what I’d just said about love being risky. I’m staring at him trying to gulp down the cheese and honey I just stuffed in my mouth.
We’ve been talking black and white and right and wrong and oh my, wouldn’t it be a whole lot easier to just know where the lines fall and then push everything and everyone into the tidy boxes?
“Um, love, real life-transforming, love, it can be risky. Because you might extend love and they bite back. You give love and get hurt or misunderstood or taken advantage of.”
I used to not understand how some could see fifty shades of gray when I only saw the stark contrast of right and wrong. Yeah, staying in the light might be hard but that doesn’t mean you just pretend there’s no difference.
And it’s not that the black and white go away. But maybe you start seeing that there are a whole lot of people living in worlds where up is down and the broken pieces have been put back together all wrong. And what they need is to first be shown that they’re loved before they’re shown they’re a mess. Because aren’t we all a mess, hoping it’s not as painfully obvious to everyone else walking by? Some of us hide behind perfect facades, while others rage in public. But we’re all still wounded and bleeding out, desperate for someone to set us free from the gnawing pain.
I’m saying all this thinking of that article I posted on Facebook. That article about bathrooms and genders and things that seem like common sense to this girl living in the woods by a lake. It’s black and white and it’s turning the world inside out crazy.
I took the article down but not because the issue got gray for me or I somehow got beat back by the voices posting.
Nah, I pulled that thing down because in an age where we’ve lost the art of conversations, I’m still holding out for real discussions. When the world has gone nutty, I’m still believing that the truth spoken in love can cut through the noise and land on open ears.
But who has ever changed a mind or moved a heart by throwing up articles and laying down rants? And how many people can hear the tone of your voice or feel the depth of your heart when they’re looking at words in a feed rather than the whites of your eyes?
The same Book that calls it straight, “He made them male and female,” also says that the world is going to be able to spot the People of the Cross by their love. Not by their wishy washy, anything goes love. And certainly not by their hard-line, conditional, shape up and get it right love.
They’re going to know we’re following the Carpenter God-Man because we’re a spitting image of Him. Oh sure, it’s going to be an imperfect one, with flaws and bang ups and more than our fair share of screw ups. But His love, yeah, it’ll change the world if we’ll just get out of the way.
Because that God-Man, He called out sin to set people free. He told them to go and start living differently today than they did yesterday, but only after He first let them know that He saw them and He loved them. They weren’t the enemy or a side to be destroyed.
They were deceived by the Enemy, being used for an agenda and desperately needing to be loved over from darkness into light.
The world is going to keep getting crazy and we’re going to keep being that salt in the wound to try and slow the decay. But this isn’t Heaven and it’s not going to get better until it gets worse. We’re all in need of that scandalous gift of grace. Those people pushing to blur black and white into shades of grey, they’re not that different from you and me.
Because without that Cross and the God-Man who let Himself hang there, how many of us would be knowing truth from lie, light from dark?
The world hurts and it heaves and you can hear the groans and the screams if you look past the headlines and read the between the words. They’re dying for love. Not the broken, twisted, manipulative and abusive love they get on the daily. No, they’re thirsting for that love that drips down the nail scarred hands and feet.
They’re aching for a love that doesn’t condemn but also doesn’t leave them in the filth. A love that sees them in their ugly, picks them up, cleans them off and starts walking down the road with them.
This world, it’s dying for Jesus and I’m thinking they don’t see much of it in their Facebook pages and our Instagrams. Because Jesus, He got on the level and sat down with them and broke bread and met them in their homes and at their wells. And He never pretended to not know what they were about. He never started calling darkness light and getting confused about what was up and what was down and agreeing with everyone so as to not offend anyone. But neither did He forget that He was looking at people who needed the extravagant love He was going to pour out on Calvary.
Love that would cost Him something fierce. He got hurt and misunderstood and taken advantage of and it changed the world.
That is what the world needs, more than a few more articles posted in frustration or my anger put on display.