Aug 7th: Christian Love in a Broken World
This is a guest post written by the Associate Regional Minister representing the Asian/Asian-American caucus of ABCMC, Rev. Chan Thawng Lian
A Christian life worth living is a life of loving. Let us remind ourselves with the old and new commandments for all believers. The Hebrews had 613 religious laws extended from the Ten Commandments. They were all about what to do and what not to do as a believer of God. Their religious leaders used those laws to judge a person if he or she was acceptable into their religious community. The laws then became benefits to the authority and burdens to the people. In the New Testament, our Lord, Jesus Christ changed the whole thing by giving the two new commandments stating, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments,” (Mtt. 22:37-40, NIV). A Christian life without true love is unacceptable to Christ.
In our daily lived experiences, we realize that there two kinds of love. The first one is to say “The feeling of love.” I would label this kind of love as situation-based love. But it is very strong, so burning at some point that no one can stop it. Millions of songs have been composed because of this feeling of love. Men and women break their religious and traditional heritage because of the feeling of love. People get married unprepared. It is, though, true that this kind of love is the love that comes and goes. James Merritt is right when he commends: “Most every couple that gets married discovers there is good news and there is bad news about getting married. The good news is after the wedding there is the honeymoon. The bad news is after the honeymoon there is the marriage. If your marriage is anything like mine, then you cannot only remember the first fight you ever had with your spouse, but you probably remember it happened a lot quicker than you thought it would.” It is true that Christ does not command us to love as we feel (Sermonsearch.com).
The second kind of love is the life of love. It is not the love that comes and goes. It is a life of love, an attitude and a habit. It remains rigid regardless of race, class, color, gender, sex and all kinds of situations. This kind of love is not afraid of people of different groups. A Christian who lives a life of love may not even know if he or she is loving because it is his or her daily routine following the footstep of Christ. It is God who loves us first and asks us to live a life of love to Him and our neighbors. Let us recall our theological study on St. Augustine’s theory of love. According to him: 1) God loves sinners because all sinners still have His image in them, 2) There is a place for self-love because everyone has God’s image in oneself, 3) To love others is also to love God because God is in them, and 4) To love God is to love ourselves because God is in us. True love goes around. To love God and to love our neighbors means loving ourselves as Jesus loves and forgives us.
We are living in hybrid community. Different people with different cultures live together in our region. The big question is how do we live a life of loving to our neighbors. It is not just sympathizing a beggar on the sideroad downtown Chicago and forget after a while. But it is having empathy in the life of people in need. It is having interest in their life: past, present and future. It is witnessing to them the joy we have by being the followers of Christ. Welcoming refugees by opening the door of our buildings to share for worshipping God is one example that Christ Community Church has done to my church, United Chin Christian Church, Wheaton. It may be hard decision to make to accept strangers in our comfort zone. But it is always easier than what Jesus faced on the cross to save us. Our faith and hope are important in this world, but they are no longer necessary when we go to our Heavenly God. Love will still be there forever (1 Cor. 13:13).
Rev. Thawng Lian