Something In The Place of Love (The Mistake No Christian Should Ever Make)

I’m tired of us giving people Religion in the place of Love.
I’m tired of us giving them Theology in the place of Love.
And giving them Being Right in the place of Love.
And Judgement in the place of Love.
And Politics in the place of Love.
And Hatred.
And Contempt.
And Silence. [From the article]

john pavlovitz

HeartLock
We’ve all experienced the disappointment of Substitution; ordering dinner, shopping for patio furniture, running errands at the grocery store. Lots of times, we need to accept something else in place of what we originally wanted, and even though we may do it begrudgingly and with some complaining, we ultimately accept it.

Most of the time we come to realize, that our second choice yields only a small drop-off in quality. We can live with the unexpected replacement and really be no worse for wear. (Dinner is still great, the blue chairs work just fine, and those other diapers still stop the surprise afternoon flood).

Sometimes though, substitutes won’t do.

There are moments when what you need, is what you need, and anything less isn’t just a loss or an inconvenience, it’s a flat-out tragedy.

The search for Love is this way.

So often, we force people to accept substitution in the…

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26 Responses to Something In The Place of Love (The Mistake No Christian Should Ever Make)

  1. lotharson says:

    I think I’ll write a post arguing that progressive Christians like John Shore equally fail to foster LOVE.

    Yeah, this is what truly matters the most!

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Lothar, when I started blogging two years ago, John was one of the first bloggers that excited me, and I followed him enthusiastically. He was bold about supporting gays among Christians, and the NALT project was so good.

      Yet, as months went by I began to feel that he was too disparaging to those with whom he disagreed; he felt harsh. So I don’t read him regularly anymore. However, when I deal with issues I rarely call out individuals, so I will likely never confront him because that is not my place. Instead I will love him as my brother in Jesus even though I am uncomfortable with his tone.

      Thanks for commenting; it is good to hear from you again.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. sheila0405 says:

    “It simply means that when you have a gap; whether in knowledge, or wisdom, or clarity, or experience, (which happens more often than we’d like to admit) that you fill that gap with kindness and decency and compassion.” Let’s do that with John Shore, too. He has been harsh at times, but I think he is often under duress. Just my two cents.

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      I agree with you Sheila. It is not part of my mission to diss anybody–no matter what they do or say. I can always deal with the issue without bringing names into it. I believe we are to love EVERYBODY with the love of the Father.

      Your two cents are very valuable.

      Like

  3. michaeleeast says:

    Will the perennial bridesmaid (love) find a spouse in Progressive Christianity?

    Like

  4. Marc says:

    So called Progressive Christianity is another failed attempt to remake Jesus Christ in the image of fallen humanity. The love of self and the self justification of sinful behavior while denying the existence of evil, Satan and the demons; is the worst self delusion. There is no humility or true repentance, and thus no salvation, to be found among those who reject the authority and doctrines of the Church.

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Hi Marc, it is good to hear from you!

      I think I know what you mean, but I see Jesus’ instruction to love others as a more valid way of relating to the Father and to other people than following religious rules. In my opinion, properly grasping the principle of loving others does NOT lead to self justification of sinful behavior but to humility and true repentance.

      The love of self I often speak of is not selfish love but an absence of self-hate that many of us feel when we think the Father is an angry, vindictive God. When we realize how the Father loves us, we are free to love ourselves in a healthy way and are released to love others in the same way.

      Like

  5. Marc says:

    Hi Tim,

    I share your concern about “religious rules.” However, I see in these threads a lot of blurring and failure to differentiate between religious rules and God’s instructions about how to follow the way that leads to truth and eternal life. To sin is to fail to live up to our potential as creatures made in the image of God with the capacity to be like God. If we honestly strive to overcome sin, the Holy Spirit will come and help us. If we deny our sins and seek to justify our sinful behavior, the Holy Spirit cannot help us.

    I fully agree with your understanding of the love of self. Any religious teaching or rules that lead to self-hate and to a concept of an angry and vindictive God are truly bad baggage that needs to be discarded.

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Marc, I don’t disagree with anything you said here. I do have a question about one statement though: what do you consider “God’s instructions about how to follow the way that leads to truth and eternal life” to be? What are those instructions in your mind?

      Like

      • Marc says:

        Tim, The earliest Christians were called the followers of the Way. Their understanding of the Way has been preserved in Holy Apostolic Tradition. Holy Apostolic Tradition has been preserved in the Orthodox Church, the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15).

        Like

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Thanks for the clarification, Marc.

          Like

          • Marc says:

            Having found where the Way has been preserved, I must admit that I have also found a lot of baggage added there. It is sad that the 6 beliefs that cause harm are all to prevalent among many Orthodox Christians as well. The good new is that Orthodox Christian doctrine does not include the 6 harmful beliefs, even though the opinions of some in the Orthodox Church do.

            Like

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Marc, I am not nearly as familiar with current Eastern Orthodox controversies as I am with those of the western church, and I am sorry to hear that the 6 beliefs that cause harm are circulating in those churches as well.

            Like

          • Marc says:

            Tim, I hope you will find more time to explore Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The preservation of the ancient Christian Faith is quite a contrast to sectarian Western Christianity. In Orthodoxy there is a continuity and completeness that can draw a Christian ever closer to God.

            Like

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            I plan to do that, Marc.

            Like

      • Chas says:

        Tim, the thing that was occupying my mind as I read through the post and these responses to it was: how are we going to enable people to love in a Godly way? The only answer that I can provide is to tell them the Good News, so that they can be brought into the Presence of God and learn from Him. The Good News, as I understand it, is that we were all always separated from God and can only come into His Presence by believing that Jesus was His Son – nothing more, nothing less, but who can accept it?

        Like

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          I think you are right Chas. I would summarize the good news this way:

          1. When we feel alienated from God, it is good news to learn that he is not alienated from us. He is not angry or vindictive; in fact he loves us individually very much. This leads to reconciliation.

          2. When we are twisted with selfishness, hate, low self-esteem, and self-destructiveness, it is good news to learn that we can love ourselves properly and love others as well. These are both acts of reconciliation.

          3. When we are burdened by legalistic rules and the constant failure to measure up, it is good news to know that the Father is not interested in religious rules but in our loving one another with good will for everyone.

          4. When we are fearful of death and the end of our existence, it is good news to learn that there is provision for an afterlife of peace, joy, and happiness.

          I believe when we begin to grasp these elements of good news, we will naturally wish to do our best in treating other people well.

          Like

          • Chas says:

            Tim, my concern is that, despite fervently wanting to treat others well, people cannot avoid doing things that lead to suffering if they are not in the Presence of God.

            Like

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            This is true, Chas. I think the desire to treat others well goes a long way, but the awareness of the Father and his powerful love makes it so much more effective. At least this is my experience.

            Like

  6. Pingback: Is it Selfish for Us to Love Ourselves? | Jesus Without Baggage

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