When I married Monica a little over 13 years ago, we never imagined that our love for one another would produce three wonderful (and unique) little boys–Ryan (9), Cole (7), and Jack (3).
All three boys are entirely different and unique in their own way: Ryan is a perfectionist, Cole is a lover, and Jack is a joker.
They were not even a “twinkle in my eye,” as the old saying goes, when I first told their mom that I loved her 17 years ago on the campus of Montreat College. I would have never predicted (or thought to dictate) the uniqueness of each of our sons. I simply loved their momma with all my heart and gave myself fully to her without any thought (or agenda) other than to love her complety and fully. The outcome of my/our love, was up to God and his creativity.
Love, as I’ve come to understand, is a creative force. When we simply love, it naturally creates new and unique life.
As Christians, many times, it feels as if our love is tethered to a predetermined end in mind (i.e. invite someone to church, have them pray to receive Christ as we understand Him, etc). It’s as if we feel like we need to help love along and add something to it to ensure that our love isn't wasted.
However, when we love others (simply to love them) something unique comes alive in the person (or community) in whom we love. Barriers are broken down. Hope is given. Dignity is bestowed. New and unexpected life is created.
Because our love is tied to an agenda, we end up, many times, hijacking the unique thing God wants to do in and through our love.
I would venture to say that often times the Christian community settles for much, much less when we love someone (or a community) in order to "win" them to our religious or political positions. Even worse, we hijack what God longs to create if we withhold our love altogether in order to protect our religious or political views.
But what if God has a specific (and uniquely creative) outcome in mind for agenda-less love?
This week, as I've reflected upon the tragic events in Orlando, I'm wondering if the Christian community understands the creative force of love. I wonder how many of us would trust an "agenda-less" love as it relates to our Muslim and LGBTQ friends. For if our "agenda" (if we should have one) is for all people to experience the love of Christ, Jesus said that would ONLY happen in and through our love, plus nothing and minus nothing. Jesus said:
"By this [love] all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
If you are wondering whether or not to publicly show love, compassion, and human solidarity to the LGBTQ community after this week, I'm curious, why? What are you afraid of? What are you afraid you will lose? What are you afraid will be "miscommunicated" through your love and support?
Does your hesitancy reveal an agenda?
If so, what's yours?