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  • Writer's pictureNina Castle

Christians and Love

I hate how Christians are more known for how judgmental we are than loving.

This should not be the case.

Since when have we become the keeper of rights and wrongs, condemnation and damnation, rather than displaying the Love and Light of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?

I’ve known my share of self-righteous pricks, and unfortunately, you probably have as well.

Perhaps I was once one? (I shudder at the thought…)

Perhaps you were one, or are one… Sad truth is that those who still are today will not be able to see the truth of their reality or how others really perceive them…

To outsiders and insiders, Christianity is seen more as a conundrum of Pharisee-type laws created to contain Christianity in a box to keep things “decently and orderly”…. Right, because Jesus’ purpose was only about being “decently and orderly”…??? No!

I am so saddened by all of this. Disheartened. Discouraged.

Look at the state of the US over the last several years. We are so divided:

Republican vs Democrat

Trump-haters vs Trump-supporters

Biden-haters vs Biden-supporters

Black Lives Matter vs All Lives Matter vs Blue Lives Matter

Pro-Life vs Pro-Choice

Allies for LGBTQ vs Condemnation (and even hatred or intolerance) for LGBTQ

Women’s rights or lack thereof…

And more…

A lot of the above is based on views as Christians, even opposing views…

I have gone through—or am going through—a “spiritual deconstruction” and am very thankful to God for this. I am rethinking why and what I believe. So many things are part of our “culturescape”—things handed down to us from our parents, mentors, preachers and so forth, without any question as to why we have believed these things in the past. Perhaps these things are from someone’s interpretation of the Bible or even the “Christian box” and lens through which they see things. It is important to question things in order to truly understand and confirm why you believe what you believe. Just as in negative thinking in coaching, ask yourself, “Is this true?” How was the thought or belief formed? From a Bible verse? Go look at the verse and discover what it means for you. Look at the historical context. Are you viewing this as a literal or figurative meaning or story? What is to be learned from this? Why might someone else have concluded something different from the same verse?

I have concluded that many of us Christians have locked God up in a “Christian box”…but, my friends, God is MUCH BIGGER than the “Christian box” we have put him in! How dare we try to contain the God who created us and the universe? God is not confined by our rules or even which books men decided to be biblical canon. Do you understand what I am saying? I am thankful for those who understand…

We have no control over God.

We do not control who God loves.

We do not control who God saves.

The greatest commandment is about LOVING, not condemning. Why has judging others become more powerful than loving others? How sad is it that Christianity, historically and currently, is better known for “hellfire and brimstone” and judging/hating others rather than being the vessels of love that we were destined to be? Why? Of course, I know this is not true in all cases—there are so many loving Christians that exist—but people remember how others make them FEEL, and the negative usually outweighs the positive.

Christian Crusades were not loving…

How are we showing God’s love today?

How can we show God’s love today?

First of all, I believe we need to truly love ourselves. We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourself. To me, that implies that we actually love ourselves. How many of us truly love ourselves? This is an area I have a battle with, and am working on improving each day.

  • Speak kindly and lovingly to yourself, without criticism; compliment yourself.

  • Encourage yourself when you’ve done something good.

  • Tell yourself what you are thankful for about yourself….gratitude!

  • Look in a mirror and tell yourself the above things.

  • Truly see yourself… “see” your soul…you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God.

  • Remember that there is nothing you can do to separate yourself from God’s love for you.

  • Give yourself grace!

  • Forgive yourself for the things you have not liked about yourself—things you have done, thoughts you have had, any inability to not unconditionally love and accept yourself…

Loving that neighbor… Look beyond the surface of the “neighbor” who may be difficult to love…

  • Why are they “difficult” for you to love?

  • What is different about them?

  • What don’t you like about them?

  • What do you fear about them?

  • What have you judged or concluded about them?

  • Truly ask yourself if the above is true.

  • What has caused this neighbor to behave or be a certain way?

  • What were the struggles this person has had?

  • Are they doing things to “protect” themselves?

  • If you had these similar struggles, how would you truly behave?

  • Look at them through the lens of Jesus’ love and how Jesus would view this person in love, not condemnation. What do you see?

Love God—with your WHOLE being! We have an INTIMATE connection with God! What is your behavior or feelings when you are in an intimate relationship or having an intimate time with someone?

  • Our defenses are down.

  • We are humble.

  • We can be ashamed for the other person seeing us for who we truly are…but are thankful that we are loved unconditionally!

  • We bask in the glory of being loved back.

  • We feel cherished and honored for this love relationship.

  • We are connected. We belong.

  • We have such gratitude for the extreme love and goodness of the relationship.

  • We have the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

  • We embody love: we do not envy, we do not boast, we are not proud, we do not dishonor others, we are not self-seeking, we are not easily angered, we keep no records of wrongs, we do not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth; we protect, trust, hope, persevere…

My plea for my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ is to love better and to love more. People need love. You need love. I need love. The world needs love. If you are to someday and somehow “correct” someone who needs guidance, that will never be done through judgment and condemnation, but through love. But, you should also evaluate your motivation or need to correct, and see if that “correction” is even a necessary thing to do.

Love IS the answer.

LOVE is the answer.

Love is THE answer.

Love is the ANSWER.

Jesus gave His life for us because of LOVE.

Jesus is our mentor for LOVE.

Lord Jesus, may we be more like you.

Please, remove our blinders so we can see how you loved and love, so we can be more like you.

Remove these layers of hardness, protection, self-righteousness, comfort, laziness, hurt, pain, and blindness so that we can see, feel, and love as You desire us to.

Move us out of our comfort zones, so growth can occur.

Soften our hearts, so love can grow.

Help us to understand the burdens of others, rather than judge, so that we can truly love others.

Through truly loving others, may Your Light shine through us as we are your vessels of LOVE.

Thank you for loving us, with all of our faults and and all of our strengths.

Help us to always rely on your strength, even when we are not feeling very loving, or are having a hard time desiring to help and heal or show and shine your love and light.

Thank you for loving me, and for loving ALL, truly unconditionally.

Help us to understand that better.

Help us to feel that in our hearts—may that feeling burn in our hearts as we love others.

Please keep our hearts aglow with that burning feeling of love; please never let it dim, fade, disappear…

Ignite us with so much of Your love for others so that all will see Your light!

Thank you for being with us, for helping us, for understanding us, for loving us.

Thank you, Jesus, for being our awesome example of showing love and shining light to the world.

Help us to be more and more like you each and every day of our lives.

In your precious name we humbly offer this prayer—Amen.

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