Our relationship with God is intricately tied to our relationship with people. We cannot despise, malign, hurt, seduce, manipulate and or degrade another human being and not be hostile toward God. Our “way” toward God is broken when we injure people because God is Love. This is clear through Scripture. “Any one who says they love God and hates his brother is a liar” according to John’s letter. He also goes on to say that “anyone who sees someone in need and closes their heart to that person” cannot have the love of God in their hearts. James echoes similar sentiments asking “how can you praise God and then with the same mouth cure man who is made in His image?” A living faith is welded to grace and manifests in love toward all, even our enemies. Jesus shared some radical things in regard to love and really redefined it for us when he asked for us to “love your enemy, and pray for those who mistreat you.” God is Love. Love is the sum of His commands and his very nature.

True Christian spirituality cannot be divorced from sacrificial love; we cannot be spiritual and disconnected from God himself. Dead religion places its emphasis upon performance, control, judgement and being right. A living faith transcends this sad man-made frantic clawing for perfection by baptizing us into the very nature of God through Christ. We are to be growing in Love. Learning to be Love in the world. Love does not shake its head at others, or squawk with pride about other’s being wrong and it’s being right. It proves itself with compassion and sacrifice and talks less. When unjustly treated it does not scream or draw attention to it’s injury and the unfair treatment it received. Love simply pours out and gives regardless of the scenario. In plenty and in lack it only has one mode and that is to give. Learning and growing spiritually is about our lives being leveraged for others and taking on the shape of Love, the shape of sacrifice, the shape of Christ.

We must stop revving ourselves up with ideological and religious energy and instead be empowered on a truly spiritual level to love like we have never loved others before. We want to “love others as Christ loved us.” To “bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” In the parable of the “sheep and the goats” Jesus shared about a moment of accountability for people who claimed to be Christian. In this story the lens that each person was viewed through and judged by had to do with “being present in other’s pain.” The entire matrix of judgment in this story was “were you present in other people’s pain.” Did you share in their pain? This strikes us as odd if we don’t realize that the amount of God in our lives is ultimately measured by our capacity to suffer with others. This is purely about being present at the point of other people’s need in an encouraging, helpful and understanding posture.

God’s grace and nature enlarges us and provides this ability. As we walk in Him we learn more each day about what it is to Love. We have to see this transformation work as a constant. We need to surrender to Love and learn to truly live in Him. “If anyone has something against another he should leave his gift at the altar and first be restored.” We cannot move forward by leaving others behind. I pray that we see every human interaction in our lives as an opportunity. We want to move forward spiritually and learn what it means to truly be Love in the world. God teach us to love. Teach us to express your nature.