I was with one of our volunteers when she received a text; a shooting in San Bernardino here in Southern California! The news channels and social media were lit up with trying to make sense of yet another shooting. As I write this they are gathering the evidence to answer the ever elusive question: ‘Why?!’ Why would someone seek to create such pain, hurt, and lasting devastation? I’m not sure we will ever know, and if we learn more we still wonder why. Why so much hate and why so little love?
However, there is an interesting reality we have seen coming out of tragedies like these from 9/11, to Paris, to this latest episode. It is how people quickly move to love, compassion and care. A frightened young adult huddled in a bathroom calls her dad to connect and express her love. A worried friend waits at the command center to hear of the fate of their loved one. A mom texts her adult kids to possibly record her final words. Family members from around the nation and world text, email, call just to make sure everyone is ok. An anxious man stand with officers, holding his phone with the text, “Active shooter at the center, pray. I love you.” There are no messages of hate or complaint or irritation, but expressions of love and reaching out for love.
Love is so needed in times like these, not the ooey gooey feeling of love, but that love of choice. A choice to act like what 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a says:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.
It’s that choice to be patient and kind even when other are not. For when you are kind, others tend to be that way too. It’s like that drive thru line at Starbucks where one person was kind and bought the drink of the person behind them and that person did the same where over 100 people passed on the kindness! Love and kindness are infectious. You can even see it happen when you smile at someone, most people will smile back. Why not try it now? If there are other people around you as you read this, just look up and smile. They may smile back!!
Unfortunately, hate is infectious as well. Yet, a great way to curtail hate is to act lovingly, for love triumphs!
1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
Jesus put it this way…
Luke 6:32-36 32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
See, when we act in a loving way, love wins. There is too much hate generated in our world today. Yes it’s all part of this sin-saturated, sin-infested world. It’s in the air. Yet love is from God.
1 John 4:7-8 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
This love is never more real than at Christmas time when we celebrate God’s great love towards us through Jesus.
1 John 4:9-11 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
The events in San Bernardino are horrific, awful and it seems that hate is trying to hold a victory. Yet we can make the choices to let love win; connect with loved ones, affirm others, be kind, smile, serve, give, help someone in need, care, get to know your neighbors, know God’s love better, pray, pray for others, don’t judge, don’t be rude, don’t be mean…let love win. Let love win in your humility, in your forgiveness, in your compassion, in your patience, in your generosity. Yes that’s when love triumphs.
Wow, to think how our world and community could change it we all would let love win. It might even make your Christmas more meaningful than you had anticipated. Why not give it a try? I know I have been challenged to let love win more. What about you?
Church can be a great place to foster love and learn more about how to let love win. If you are not already attending a church we would like to invite you to attend one of our church campuses this Sunday. Our website has all the information you would need. www.cypresschurch.net . We would love for you to join us.
Seeking to let love triumph along with you,