002. LOVE LOUDER THAN CRITICISM
When I was a child, my parents took me to hear the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. If you have ever heard the sound of a full orchestra tuning, then you know it is a very loud and unsettling sound. It is almost like hearing an entire orchestra falling down some stairs. All those different musicians, with different instruments, all doing their own thing. It’s a total mess! Until the conductor steps on the stage, and then all eyes are on him as he walks out, taps on the podium with his baton, and slowly lifts his hands. As they drop, what was a cacophony of division and chaos, suddenly becomes a sound so beautiful, it literally takes your breathe away!
This is a picture of what I believe the Lord is seeking. When we are focused on ourselves or our criticism and judgments of what don’t like about each other, it release the sound of disharmony and division. However, when all have our eyes set on the Lord, fixated on His Glory, we release a sound so beautiful it changes the earth. It is the sound of harmony in the bride. When our hearts are set on His, we see each other differently. We see each other through His eyes, the eyes of love and grace, the eyes of One who sacrificed everything for imperfect us.
Having traveled to so many different churches, with very different traditions and expressions, I can tell you I truly have learned to love the people! Also, I found they have more in common than they realize or would dare admit. Unfortunately, they also sometimes have very strong differing opinions that keep them at unnecessary odds with each other. It is tough, because we all do this in some way, and it obviously hurts the Lord’s heart when we read Jesus’ prayer in John 17, “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me” (17:21).
On social media, I see so many posts tearing the bride down. There is apparently a fear of people abusing a teaching when we ourselves abuse judgement. If we stop and ask ourselves, will what I say strengthen division rather than love, we should just not say it. That’s pretty simple, right? Even writing this, I don’t want anyone to think, I am not asking myself the same questions! I see this in myself all the time, and have to catch myself, to speak love. This blog isn’t about who is right or wrong, and you won’t find a theological argument for conservative versus charismatic. Just these words, “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:34-35). You can speak your convictions in love and humility, but remember to ask the Lord to check your motives, because the world will never see that I am a follower of Christ by my ability to tear apart someones theology, but mostly by my ability to love when it doesn’t make sense. Today, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to reveal and convict us all of how we have maybe been divisive and critical, so we can repent, and then fix our eyes on Him, as one body, and release the sound of His name and nature as the God who is Love.