“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Archive for August 13, 2014
“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 3:14-15 (NASB)
No one has seen God (1 John 4:12). But you can see God’s love in the way Christians approach death with boldness, hope, courage, and no fear, “for perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).
You can also see God’s love in the way Christians approach their neighbor. There are no more unequivocal words in all of Scripture than these: “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20).
John was writing to a congregation that had lost its vision and had turned inward. The Church’s vision is outward. They had turned inward, as churches so often do, arguing with one another about all kinds of things. In this case, they were arguing with one another about theology, some saying, “We have all the truth and therefore the rest of you are benighted.” The results were predictable. There were hurt feelings, divisions, things that shouldn’t have been said, recriminations.
John writes to them: If you say you are a Christian, then give the evidence, not only in the way you face death with boldness, but in the way you face your neighbor in love. “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar.”
If the only way anybody is going to be able to see God is to see God’s love at work in the lives of people, then make that love visible. St. Francis said, “Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.”
What young people need at the minimum are two things: they need a loving community, and they need an adult who cares for them. For all of these years the Church has been the one enduring institution that has provided that safe environment, that loving environment, and adults to model for young people what Christian life is all about.