Christians throughout history have taken the Bible and turned it from a love letter into a list of rules and regulations. I'm just as guilty - maybe even more so than others. The sad part about this is that when God's love becomes a list of rules to follow, criticism and judgment usually follow, especially when people follow a different "list of rules." And when that happens, love flies out the window. I have been mulling this over in my mind a lot lately, feeling convicted and wondering how to be more compassionate and tender. And I stumbled across this today:
"Take a look at a rose. Is it possible for the rose to say, 'I'll offer my fragrance to good people and withhold it from bad people?' Or can you imagine a lamp that withholds its rays from a wicked person who seeks to walk in its light? It could do that only by ceasing to be a lamp. And observe how helplessly and indiscriminately a tree gives its shade to everyone, good and bad, young and old, high and low; to animals and humans and every living creature - even to the ones who seek to cut it down. This is the first quality of compassion - its indiscriminate character." - Anthony DeMello, The Way to Love
...even to the ones who seek to cut it down. That is so hard and yet that's the answer, isn't it? That's how far we need to go to love people, because that's exactly how far Jesus went to love us.