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Difficult to love

17th November 2018 War Cry cover
Posted November 17, 2018

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As I reflected on the words of Commissioner Andy Westrupp at New Zeal, urging us towards love in Christ, I was struck with a disturbing notion: I find it relatively easy to love the so-called ‘sinner’, but the ‘saints’ are another story.

I often feel closest to Jesus when I am sharing my life with people who would never cross the precipice to church. But I find it difficult to love ‘Outraged from Remuera’ sitting in the pew across from me.

I am sure you’ve also wondered to yourself: ‘We’re both Christians, how can we think so differently?’ Isn’t it frustrating how faith in Jesus allows for so many differences of opinion?!
Then, I was struck by an even more disturbing notion: to others, I am the fellow Christian who is difficult to love. A regular trickle of correspondence to War Cry gives me a hint that some readers are graciously bearing with me. Is there anything more humbling than to know that others are showing you grace?

Jesus—with his searing insight into the human condition—said others will know we are his disciples because we ‘love one another’. He knew that nothing would keep us at the foot of the cross like the mandate to love each other.

Unity takes humility—but how like God to turn our expectations upside down: it is humility, not shouting the loudest, that strengthens us. When we choose to love each other—despite our hurts, betrayals and disagreements (because we will disagree)—we are walking closest to Christ.

Ingrid Barratt

Bible verse

1 John 4:7
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

1 Hoani 4:7
E ngā hoa aroha, kia aroha tātou tētahi ki tētahi: nō te Atua hoki te aroha; ko te hunga katoa hoki e aroha ana, kua whānau i te Atua, e mātau ana hoki ki te Atua.