Light in the Darkness
January 1, 2004 - The Bible instructs us to "speak the truth in love" (Cf. Ephesians 4:15). In confronting sin, we need both truth and love. But people will listen to the truth only when they first see love.
by Jack W. Hayford
The only thing that will touch people in a world blinded by sin is evidence of what they want most: love. We will not win the world by persuading people we are pure and holy; we will win others by showing love, as Jesus did. Where people see love's vitality, worth and attractiveness, they will inquire into the truth that produces it. We have not been made agents of our heavenly Father's anger but of the love behind it.
God's "wrath" is His fury against the self-destructive things done by His children that hinder Him from fulfilling the good He intends for them. His heart breaks over human bondage, just as His Son's body was broken to provide redemption and deliverance from each person's self-imposed program of death.
You and I cannot pray with power if we don't love what or whom we're praying for. The flow of power in our lives is directly proportionate to the flow of our love—love that comes from God. He demonstrated "His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8, NKJV). God knows that we live "in a crooked and perverse generation" (Philippians 2:15, NKJV); it's the same world into which He sent His Son. Yet, while Jesus had no illusions about the nature of humankind, He did not come executing judgment; He came reaching in love.
Furthermore, in those of us who have come to Him, there is something of the recovery of what God has in mind for all of humanity. When people see healing and restoration occurring in our lives, it awakens hope for peace and wholeness in their own. The light of Jesus' righteousness enables us to examine our own lives and to attract others to Him by warming them with His love. We are not called to shine it as a searchlight in their faces, telling them to "measure up."
We are called to holiness, but we are not called to apply that measure to the world. It's a measure we're called to require of ourselves as we grow in the life of Christ. When we grasp this, something different will take place in the Church today. The ultimate measure will always be how the love of God is manifest in us.