Saturday, July 10, 2010

I Love You Because God Loves Everybody

Barbara Brown Taylor remembers that explanation when she asked early in life why the Christians on campus kept saying they loved her. This is her reaction as recorded in An Altar in the World, "This may sound small, but I decided that was not enough for me. I did not want to be loved in general. I wanted to be loved in particular, as I was convinced God loved."

I think most people feel the same way. We want folks to love me, for me, not because some third party loves everybody. The problem is that all too often we behave as though we're doing something because God does it, or because God wants us to do it. That seems to me to miss the point of being Christian. We are called to be transformed into the likeness of God and that means that our behavior - our loving others - becomes more and more what we do because we love them. Eventually, our faith, our way of living is supposed to be ours in the fullest sense.

Taylor follows up immediately with this, "Plus, I am not sure it is possible to see the face of God in other people if you cannot see the faces they already have." If we cannot see people as they are, in the midst of their lives, struggles, fears, and desires, how do we propose to see God in them? Yes, everyone is made in the image of God and so God is there to be seen, but his appearance changes depending on the particular incarnation with which we are confronted at any moment. Unless we are sensitive enough to incarnation, we cannot say that we really see God in it.

God doesn't love you because He loves people; He loves you because well, He loves you. If we are God followers, then that is why we love others - because our tranformation does not allow any other course.

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