Is Love Enough?
I’ve been thinking about the way in which we approach people who live differently than we do, and the methods we use to try to change the way in which they live. We see them doing all sorts of odd things and feel it’s our responsibility to confront them about their lifestyle. Many times, our confrontation takes the form of posting graphic images of abortion, impassioned messages against homosexuality, or some other message saying their behavior is wrong and it must change. I’ve wondered if these responses demonstrate love.
Many believers justify their use of direct (sometimes violent) confrontation of sin by pointing to examples from the Old Testament. Direct confrontation was used by Old Testament prophets to bring people’s sins to the discussion table. But we sometimes fail to consider that these confrontations seldom brought about the results the prophets wanted. Confrontation was used by men of God in the past—but I would argue it was not used successfully. If the old covenant methods of changing people’s hearts were adequate, there would have been no need for a new covenant. But since we have been given a new covenant, we ought to consider how it differs from the old one—and consider the ways in which it is better.
I was thinking (marveling really) about the method Todd White uses to reach people. I’ve studied Todd and the way He interacts with people for years and I think he has the best approach currently being used to turn people’s hearts toward God. Todd’s approach is simply to love people. He blesses them. He buys things for them when God leads him to. He prays for their healing and prophesies their destiny—regardless of who they are or what kind of lifestyle they’re living. He showers love on them. (I would say the same is true of Heidi Baker.)
Todd doesn’t confront people’s sins violently and demand they repent—claiming it’s the only way to show real love to sinners. He just loves them like he would love his own child. He has no agenda other than showing them love. He knows that the reason people are messed up is because they don’t know how deeply they are loved by God. So he loves them because the one thing they need isn’t another confrontation about their sin. They need a love encounter with God and that happens through people like you and I and Todd.
One thing many of us lack is a conviction about the power of love. We simply don’t believe love is enough to turn people toward God. We don’t think love can do the job. Even though God himself is love—and it is only by His goodness expressed in love that people come to repentance—we still don’t think love, all by itself can do the trick.
I’m becoming more convinced that love really is enough.
Sin is really an extreme form of amnesia. It is forgetting who you were when you were created as a spirit that came forth from the heart of God—a spirit made in His perfect, sinless image.
Excellent article. I agree with you completely. I also love the way that Todd White ministers to people. I’ve just become acquainted with his ministry within the last three months but I am amazed at the results he has, and the love he has for God and people. We definitely need more of that. I’ve been in the Charismatic stream for well over 20 years. I’ve heard so many prayers for revival but hardly any mention of being better lovers. I’m convinced we do need a revival….BUT I say we need a revival of love. For it’s our love that will identify us as disciples. May we learn to love better, deeper and richer!
Thanks Michael. I think you’re right. A revival that starts with love may never end.
It’s the only way. Love
I absolutely LOVE this, and thank you thank you thank you
Great read! Love covers a multitude of sin. Sometimes we think that we have to control the situation by controlling the person. Love is just love, it’s not controlling, but yet love can change a person’s heart in an instant. I love Todd White!
Good word. We are called to reconcile people to their Father God, not condemn them. He is reaching out to them with an outrageous, furious love…we have to do the same if we are working with him…
Just subscribed. Love the article and had watched Tod White throughout past years. Love how He ministers the power of God’s healing touch to the youth in the streets. It’s very difficult sometimes when dealing with hurt persons. I wish God to soften more hearts today. Less of us more of Him. Great first read. Thank you!
Thanks for dropping by Elizabeth, and welcome to my circle of friends!
Love has many faces. Sometimes it shows itself through an act of kindness or simply a smile when none was expected. Love, like kindness can be random or intentional; I prefer the intentional type. Random acts of love are great but when we approach someone with intent, God always shows up. When I see someone who is obviously having a rough time, it cost me nothing to encourage them and speak of the love that God has for them. They are often in disbelief because rejection is all they know and have ever heard about themselves. God always wants to bless them and love on them. The wonderful thing is, when Love shows up, everyone is blessed, even me. And some are even changed forever.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 that love keeps no records of wrongs, it never gives up and so many other things that sound wonderful but are not always lived out, especially when it comes to those who are different than us. I would challenge the Body of Christ to begin to study and meditate on these verses and begin to put them, every single one, into practice every day, with intent to bless.
Thanks Gigi! <3
A well known minister says “so what does this look like on Monday morning?” As at times I think I am moving in love but instead I’ve settled into passivity. Leaving those around me feeling unprotected . Or I make a sacrifice with love in mind only to discover I was enabling some one in a toxic using lifestyle that preys on a kind heart.
Still, if I am the last face, voice they see- I want that supernatural presence of God to be tangible- to beckon a hurting tired heart toward God.
Sometimes when a salesperson comes to my door I might see they are lying. Or overworked, tired or maybe casing my place to see what to come back for later. I rarely buy anything but will offer food and ask if I can speak a blessing over them. This has always gone well.
And sometimes with a person in a huge mess, I’ve had to say “I can not help you, but lets find someone who can”. Some folks want to see tangible evidence of love by action. Some merely want to be heard and understood. Every one wants to have some one who loves and believes in them.
Accepting that not everyone will respond by changing is important . They might be found lifeless and alone. Or they may get freed up to live joyfully . How it plays out is always a mystery to me.
One thing I know- my last encounter with anyone should never be with fighting, correcting or angry scripture quotes. But His tangible presence over us, between us. When this happens how my heart does sing 🙂
Absolutely love this PM!! Most people are love starved and will respond to love. I think about how I respond to love versus condemnation and it is a no-brainer. John 3:16
“For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Luke 7:47 The lesson is simple if you KNOW you have been shown great mercy you love extravagantly, unconventionally, dangerously, but if you are “forgiven little” if you are in very little need of His mercy then your heart will dispense tiny little, conditional drips of love that are calculated to please your ‘pretty good, thank you’ delusional self. And “love” can only be defined by including the word “sacrifice.”
So true PM, even us Christians need to be in the love of God always so we can pass it on to others.
[He knows that the reason people are messed up is because they don’t know how deeply they are loved by God.]
This is true in part. And certainly nothing can change us like a full revelation of the love of God (John 3:16). Even so, this statement does not account for the fallen nature of man, who even after beholding God’s love, often reject him still. In the very few verses after Jesus spoke John 3:16, he said that mankind refuse to come to the light because people *loved* the darkness rather than the light. Even John 3:16 itself paints a dichotomy between those who believe, after beholding this boundless love of God – his gift of the Only Begotten – and those who continue to not believe and thus perish, even after having beheld that love.
John 3:19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
My 14 year old daughter and I were having this very conversation this morning! She is disillusioned with many church members for this very reason. They seem very good at being scared and angry and accusatory, but severely lacking in the love area. She and I both agreed, If it does not pass the love test, don’t do it. Period. Her heart is broken over how our church treats homosexuals, and anyone else different than the “mainstream”. She is getting angry. Righteously angry. And I pray for more people her age to see through the judgment and the self-righteousness that has shaped my generation for the worse.
Thank you for sharing bout LOVE!! totally agree with you. GOD is LOVE! One of my most favourite verses….and LOVE covers a multitude of sins!…. Trish.