Bible Verse of the Day
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. ( John 3:17 ESV)
Often times, the first question asked me when I am talking to people is, “How did you end up in North Dakota as a Floridian?” I am not ashamed to inform them that I came to ND to help plant and eventually pastor a church. But at the same time, there is a hesitancy that still wells up in me. Again, not because I am ashamed of the Gospel or Jesus, but because of the stigma that can accompany pastors and the church. It’s the sentiment that Christians do nothing but condemn everyone outside of their “little world”, that Christians exist simply to self-righteously judge those around them. Honestly, the last thing I want to do is start off on the wrong foot and be forced to battle the false impression of Christianity so many hold.
Fortunately though, there comes a time further on the relationship in which the person will often confess that I am nothing like they thought I would be. What they are realizing is that my “religion” doesn’t play itself out by me judging everyone and everything in my path, but by loving those around me. Now this doesn’t mean I cozy right up to sin and tell people there is no such place as hell, that would perhaps be the most unloving thing possible. But what I do keep in mind is this: “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” So if Jesus, being perfect and without sin didn’t come to this earth on a mission to condemn, then neither should I.
There are four areas in our lives and relationships in which we can live out our Christ-given love:
1. We can show our love for God (Mark 12:30). As we show our love for God, those around us will see we serve a loving God who also loves them.
2. We can show our love for each other (John 13:35). If we can’t even show those around us that we love other Christians, then why would they think we would love them?
3. We can show our love for our enemies (Matthew 5:43-46). This can be the hardest, but the most rewarding for us. If we can love those who don’t love us, we show the opposite of their condemnation.
4. We can show our love for the needy (Galatians 2:10). Giving and showing love to the needy is doing it without expecting anything in return. Instead of condemning them and telling them they are in need because of their own actions, we demonstrate our love by meeting their physical needs and clearly communicating the Gospel of grace.