The Caring Heart

with Dr. Joyce

Unintended Consequences

February 2014

“If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us” (completed) I John 4:12

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from all sin.” I John 1:7

“He that loveth his brother abideth in the light…”  I John 2:10

“Don’t just pretend that you love others, really love them….Love each other with brotherly affection and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:9-10

Jesus told us what is truth.  He is full of love, and this love is life.  His life-giving love is the most important thing, and we are to treat it as most important.  Moreover, if we are in reality obeying and serving God, we are to be like Jesus and be filled with this genuine love.
 
One would assume then, Christian churches would treat teaching about and practicing real love as being at the top of their priority lists in sermons, Bible studies, relationship patterns among church goers, and so forth.  Although there are exceptions, generally speaking love has been glossed over, not taught in detail about peoples’ relationships, and kept quite a bit at the bottom of the priority ladder.  Churches focus mostly on the vertical relationship, not the horizontal.. Oftentimes now days, churchgoers hardly know each other and have no plans or interests in knowing each other on a personal level.  People don’t act very loving because they have not been taught how important it is, and how to be loving interpersonally in any detail.  Also, they often do not have good, loving role models around them. They have little or no idea how to nurture someone else, or why anybody needs nurturing.  Human needs should be met by God, not them.  And, they do not know the UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES of  the lack of wholesome, loving, nurturing relationships. 
 
Leaving out love in environments – between people – is never good.  People are not uplifted deep inside and can be brought quite low in how they feel about themselves, the others, and life.  As time goes on in love-deprived environments, they feel just dead and cold inside, and disgruntled or downright angry.  They become hard hearted.  They may hide their coldness underneath an exterior of enlivened joviality,   But, the poverty of love in their lives can spill out at home in grumpiness or outright abuse to family members, or towards animals in so many ways.  Such cold, harmful patterns can go on, generation after generation, from mild to dangerously pathological.   
 
Abuse on this planet is so horrendously pervasive towards humans and animals.  Isn’t it time for the church leaders, whoever and wherever they are, to examine who they are serving and why.  If they are really serving Jesus, they will be putting efforts to teach His love very high priority.  If they are not putting love high priority, what they are doing can contribute to  UNINTENDED CONSEQUENES, which include hard heartedness, alienation, loneliness, lack of spiritual growth, and all sorts of mild and/or extreme abuse to people and animals. Lots of sin. Not what the church leaders want, or intend, I’m sure!!
 
People who have grown up lacking wholesome, secure parental love and care end up damaged in some way or another.  They are not simply sinners who are being ornery and insisting upon sinning because they feel like it.  They are genuinely hampered in their thinking minds, in their emotional minds, in their habit patterns, and in their life skills.  They not only need correction, they need a lot of tender loving care from honest people.  Their hurts are real hurts, often incredibly deep.  They need compassion, empathy, and understanding, and NOT merely to be told what sinners they are (endlessly). 
 
So often, the church tells people who are needy or having problems that if they repent, the Holy Spirit will fill their needs.  They will be fine.  I’m sure not going to decide when, where, and how the Holy Spirit acts, but nowhere in the Bible does it say that we are supposed to take the “lazy way” and expect the Holy Spirit to do all the loving and caring  NO!  The Bible mandates that we humans have a definite role with other humans (and the animals, too, in my opinion),  We are supposed to be like Jesus.  We are supposed to be embodiments of His life-giving love, in integrity and warmth, and we are to attend to the details of being somebody to someone else. 
 
My favorite kind of love is when someone loves me, not because someone told them they must, but because, for some crazy reason, they fine me lovable and likeable.  Jesus has been said to love people because He found them so lovable.  If I love someone, I find that I want to be with that person or animal.  I want to be close, and I do miss them when I cannot have times with them.  I want to know them and I am interested in their lives.  I want to help them any way I can.  How can I believe people in churches love me when they show no interest in getting to know me?   I remember Ceil, a tall soprano who sang beautiful solos in so many churches, strictly on a volunteer basis.  Ceil told me, years ago, that people in churches were often rude to her.  She said “Christ isn’t in the churches.” 
 
Isn’t it time to take a sober look and assess what is really going on?

Real love, Christ’s love, is so critically needed all over this wounded planet. 
 
Where are those who will really stand up for love?  For all sentient beings, humans included.
 
Copyright 2014 The Caring Heart