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.