My Heart is Black (A Rant)

Deut 15:12-15  (The Message)

12-15 If a Hebrew man or Hebrew woman was sold to you and has served you for six years, in the seventh year you must set him or her free, released into a free life. And when you set them free don’t send them off empty-handed. Provide them with some animals, plenty of bread and wine and oil. Load them with provisions from all the blessings with which God, your God, has blessed you. Don’t for a minute forget that you were once slaves in Egypt and God, your God, redeemed you from that slave world.

There is never any debate about the fact that it was grace that saved you on that one sweet day. You accepted Christ and sheerly by grace and His invasive love he set you free. The problem is that from that day forward we have tried to earn that grace and pay God back for His sweet gift.

Furthermore, when we live in that mentality for very long we start to look at those dirty and God-less sinners with shame, and we distant ourselves from them. We have to wake up and once again recognize that it will always be by God’s grace and power that we are in right standing with God. This is what God was trying to tell the Israelites by saying, “remember you were once slaves in egypt.” Now God is saying to us, remember you were once slaves to sin I set you free, you would be just like “those” people if it weren’t for me.

We make an error when we try to “love people better” I know the sentiment is good, but we must first try to fully recognize our own wickedness that God has delivered us from. Then when we get in touch with that reality, we can love deeply.

My heart is black, I’m a wretch. But Jesus saw fit to give me life. I am overwhelmingly grateful.

So let us care for one another from this place of sobriety. So that we might love well and walk with reverence.

Love and Light ~ Meditation

1  John 2:7-11

7Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.

9 Those who claim to be in the light but hate a fellow believer are still in the darkness. 10 Those who love their fellow believers live in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But those who hate a fellow believer are in the darkness and walk around in the darkness; they do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

Meditation:

The old command had been given through Moses: to love God with all your heart,  soul, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Unfortunately loving your neighbor as yourself translated into a metered love. For example a Jewish commentator quotes Rabbi Akiva as saying “you should love your neighbor as yourself, not more than yourself.” So John reminds us of the new spin on the old command with a new twist. In other words, Moses said it, then Jesus said it, then Jesus died and resurrected, and now John in light of all that is renewing the command in light of Jesus ministry.

“its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.”

Vision seems to be the key in these verses. John points to the truth of love seen in Christ as the ultimate example. He must be referring to the way He laid down His life for His friends and did not have an ounce of anger or hate. Jesus was and is the ultimate example of love. He speaks of how this revolutionary love is breaking forth into this world of darkness.

9 Those who claim to be in the light but hate a fellow believer are still in the darkness. 10 Those who love their fellow believers live in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But those who hate a fellow believer are in the darkness and walk around in the darkness; they do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

By the projection of his words, John makes us aware that this world is so dark that we can be deceived into hating one another. He then explains that as we are lured into any amount of hate, all that we see and do will be effected by it. I’m reminded of how Jesus said, a little leaven works through the whole batch of dough. These are the stark terms John is speaking in; either we walk in light or in darkness.
When we take on this idea of our actions effecting our vision I am reminded of what Jesus said in Matt 7:1-5.
1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

But this idea of love seems intangible. It seems like love is a fuzzy feeling, not something we can manage ourselves. I would be willing to challenge that, it seems to me that it’s our chosen actions that enforce or hinder love. We can choose to give someone a glass of water, an encouraging word,  or a helping hand that can put flesh on the bones of love. Inversely we can gossip, disrespect, or withhold kind words to foster hate.

In light of the strong “either or” language it seems that Love is the only choice we have. To choose not to love is to hate. To choose not to love is to choose to walk in pitch black darkness.

God is Love, God is the Light, God is the Judge. Love others and let God sort em out.