Knowing what you know, what will you do? Will you hide behind stoicism or cynicism, or will you press in and love?
Man, I feel like I asked that question about twenty times during Sunday's sermon.
I asked it a lot on Sunday because I'm asking myself that question a lot. Maybe not the whole question. Something shorter like, 'OK, now what?' I'm asking it at home when I'm frustrated with the boys as we get ready for school. I ask it when I hit an impasse relationally with other people. I'm asking it in all kinds of church-related situations.
Because I don't want to hide. But it's easier to handle life or people by throwing up my hands and saying, 'Whatever!' And cynicism comes as easy to me as breathing - 'That won't work.' 'They won't ever change.' 'I won't ever change.'
Love. It seems so simple. Knowing what I know, the next right thing in every situation and circumstance is to love. No need to grind my mental gears wondering what I should do. God has clearly told me to love (God) with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and to love (people) the way I love myself. And God has loved me flawlessly and ferociously. So, of course, love is the play at every turn.
But love is hard. Take work, for instance. Love involves showing up as a broken person in a broken environment filled with broken people (colleagues and customers). Love demands that we do the right thing right now for the right reasons. On paper, the odds are stacked against us. In real time and space, those odds feel insurmountable.
If love is giving ourselves, not just to our work but to the people who need our work; and if love expects nothing in return for the work that we do, then we need some serious help. We need to see this in action. And we need something more than our drive and desire.
Where does that help come from? Certainly the world is filled with people whose stories show us how to love each other. And motivation and inspiration is a billion dollar business. But for anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear, only Jesus can give us what we need. Jesus shows up on the scene loving people in spite of (because of?) what he knows about them. And Jesus, as only the God-man can do, loves us in such a way that our natural bent towards stoicism and cynicism is replaced with an uncommon predisposition to love.
So knowing what we know, what will we do? Before we set out to love, let's be people who know that the next right thing to do is to stay close to Jesus. Not only will he show us the way, he has paved the way for us to love.