Love Jim Cymbala:
Just an observation.
Jim said..."Too often, if people are “different” — meaning not our color or ethnicity, or not a part or our congregation or denomination..."
A life of love is marked by people are themselves different.
There are some who are marked by a wonderful capability of quenching all strife in their demonstration of the love of God. These quench disagreements, put out the fires of doubt and animosity between people and themselves. The Spirit of God is wonderful as a reconciler of man to God by such demonstrations as we read of Robert Chapman (see Arthur Rosh posting 'university of love')
These men are hearlded as the brightest and best of Christian lives given before men.
But there is another example, not really quoted much and rarely every used as an example of 'what we should be in the world'...
2Ch 34:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years.
2Ch 34:2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.
2Ch 34:3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.
2Ch 34:4 And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.
2Ch 34:5 And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.
2Ch 34:6 And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about.
If you notice, he burned, broke, tore down, cut down, and defiled on so many cities. Dont think for a moment this was all done with yea's and amens at first. It couldn't have been. The whole nation was full of idolatry. One man may break an idol, while in the other mans heart that idol is secure, safe and will not be broken down. So it is all over the world.
Josiah made no quick friends by doing this, he couldn't have been the favorite of the pagan priests serving in Israel, he couldn't be a friend to the wicked and ungodly deriving a living from the temple prostitutes, the craftsman making the idols of wood and stone, the neighbors scowling at anyone not worshiping the various false gods of the time. No, Josiah could never have been a favorite King among his people.
Yet after all that King Josiah did in bringing his reforms and turning to the Lord...he sons lived like the pagans and the people followed.
God declared...2Ki 23:25 And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.
Today, who would even give King Josiah a passing notice?
He stirred up stife and problems for so many cities, he destroyed monuments, ruined the sacred places, killed people according to some old religion, he disregards 'other ways' to God, he is hated by the religious world and will not compromise with the political world he was born into.
I dare say only a few could even give Josiah a passing grade as a believer. But from what I read Josiah's love for the people and for God brought a wrecking ball into countless lives and God commended him for it.
All I am getting at is the 'love of God' is not one kind of demonstration, its not one kind of 'loving people', its not just a reconciler its a divider, it's not just a peace maker its a killer of the ungodly and defiling thing.
I will not be fooled by the idea which intimates to we "the believers" that the 'love of God' is only truly demonstrated by the passive and polite.
I want to be fragrant unto the Lord, but I know very well my fragrance is skunky to my unsaved friends as soon as they realize my God and their idols have no friendship and no common ground. What I am becomes offensive to them.
The love of God in me is patient and prayerful for them and willing to converse kindly, graciously and politely.
God in me is polite and kind now because this is the day of salvation offered again and again. The day will come when kindness, politeness and grace are all removed because God is no longer demonstrating his mercies through his body of believers. Then Jesus will demonstrate his love toward the Father in purging the earth of all things that could not be purified.