Bob Goff: If Love Isn’t the Defining Characteristic of Our Faith, We Need to Find Our Way Back to Where We Started.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

JOHN 15:18

Here’s a page from Bob Goff’s book of daily reflections, Live in Grace, Walk in Love:

Once Jesus and His disciples wanted to go to a village in Samaria. Here was the problem: the people in the village weren’t having it. Apparently, they had an issue with people from Jerusalem. The disciples heard the outcry from the village, and do you know what they said? “Jesus, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to destroy them?” Yikes. It seems a little harsh, yet at the same time not unfamiliar. We’re a lot like the disciples sometimes, wanting to tap into nuclear weapons when people say something we don’t agree with or rub us the wrong way. At some point, we started to believe that our doctrine is the defining characteristic of our faith. We got it in our heads that knowing the truth and telling others about it was our greater purpose here on earth than simply loving the people God made.

The gospel isn’t a set of doctrines we agree with, though. It’s actually Jesus. He said He was the way, the truth, and the life. Don’t add to it. It’s possible to have great doctrine and lousy theology. Loving people the way Jesus did is great theology. The Bible helps us understand how God wants us to live, but never let anything block your view of the fact that He’s the one who holds all things together. He’s the one who rescued us and who still rescues us when we slip up and need some grace.

There will be times you’re not welcomed. There will be times you’re misunderstood. There are times you’ll be angry about it. We don’t need to ask God to rain down fire on the people who have been difficult. Just keep moving forward, eyes fixed on Jesus and off of everyone else.

Is there someone you’ve written off because of the way they once responded to you?

Bob Goff: Live in Grace, Walk in Love

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