What Love Requires

 So I kneel humbly in awe before the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, the perfect Father of every father and child in heaven and on the earth.  And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.
Ephesians 3:14-19 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Earlier this week I was helping a gentleman at work who is one of our regular customers. He’s one of those folks it’s just a pleasure to be around, always encouraging and friendly. No matter what kind of day you’re having, people like this have a way of making it better. On this day in particular I noticed he was wearing a unique cross. It had a sort of steampunk metal look to it, and I told him I liked it. In reply, he said it was a gift from a friend when he moved years ago. Here’s the story. My friend worked for one of those laundry delivery companies that serve businesses. One day, as he was making his rounds, he came to one shop in particular where he had established a friendly rapport with a lady who worked there who happened to be African American. He told her he was leaving the area and this would be his last time delivering to them. She said, “Wait, I have something for you.” She disappeared into the back, and when she came out she had the cross in her hand and asked him to take it. He was surprised, and when he told her as much, she said the reason she was giving him the cross was he was the first white man who had ever called her, “ma’am.” I was both moved and taken aback by the story. Thinking this must have been a very long time ago, not that racism should have ever been the norm, I asked him what year this happened. He said it was 1995. It seems to me our relationships with people of different colors and cultures have been moving forward at a snail’s pace, that is, when they are moving forward at all. I’m concerned that not enough attitudes have shifted since my friend was given his cross.

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit . . . Next to the blessed sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.
C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (New York; Harper-Collins, 2001, first paperback edition).

Jesus said to love God
with everything you have
and love your neighbor as yourself.
How many days have I begun,
leaving those words on the shelf?
It’s easy to treat well
those who do the same.
It’s easy to not fear
those with similar skin
and names.
Let me be the bridge
to Jesus’ love
even when it’s not natural
or easy.

© Joel Tipple 8/10/2019

Love Isn’t Easy

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35 ESV


“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
Romans 13:8 ESV

My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.

1 John 3:18

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
Matthew 5:17-18 ESV

When Christians get together and discuss the state of the world and how it relates to them, the conversation often turns to the general decline in standards of conduct and the increase of sinful behavior. We can probably agree that it’s easier than ever to step across the line when the other side is just a click away, but anyone questioning the growing absence of a moral compass may be judged as being unfairly restrictive of freedom of expression. Consider the way today’s world views and interacts with Christians. While many locations around the globe range from being restrictive to downright dangerous for Christ-followers, even countries with a Christian tradition are finding ways to marginalize them. So it’s no surprise that the church finds itself trying to choose someplace between adopting a foxhole mentality of drawing away from the world to the point we risk losing touch with our communities to becoming just another political group vying for its own special interests. Just how are we to be the salt of the earth? I’m convinced we must love each other desperately, sacrificing for each other while at the same time standing out as a beacon of light for our communities, and not just the parts of our communities easiest to love.

Love isn’t easy,
not as Jesus commanded.
And it wasn’t just the Pharisees
our Lord reprimanded.


In our age love ranges
from dear to trivial,
from life-giving
to simply convivial.


But to impact our world
nearly enough,
beyond our judgement,
they must know us
by our love.


© Joel Tipple 7/27/2019