These words, Love Wins, were actually a title of a book written by Rob Bell that came out in November of 2011 – cannot believe it was that long ago. This book generated much thought, energy and discussion around the topics of heaven and hell, as well as
a huge uproar about the book in general and Rob Bell in particular. It was sad to see the vitriolic responses leveled at Rob by Christians. This musing is not about the subject matter of the book, as thought provoking as it was, but it is about the title. I loved the title of that book and I think it is true – Love wins! I own a sweatshirt that says the same and even wear it – when I am feeling particularly brave and indifferent.
Now let me admit upfront that I do not exactly even know what I mean when I say “Love wins”, but I have personally seen God’s love win again and again and again – in big and small ways. I have experienced God’s love winning in my life. I am a follower of Christ because as a high school student, who started coming to Church at age 17, I was loved into the kingdom by adults my parents’ age, by a youth pastor and his wife a decade older than me, by teens by own age who did not know me but took the time to get to know me, accept me and love me. They loved me as I was, not receiving anything from me, with the unconditional love of God that eventually transformed me and won me into the kingdom.
I continue to celebrate and commemorate the truth that love wins each week as I come forward to receive a chunk of bread and a splash of wine – the body and blood of Christ. The Lord’s Supper, the cross, the empty tomb, is all about love, the love of God for his enemies, for sinners, for those dead in their trespasses and sins, for the world, for you and me.
On the cross Jesus stretches out his arms and says I love you – a tough, down and dirty type love. A love that cares for others whether they are suffering for their own sins (today you will be with me in paradise) or a mother mourning the death of her son (mother behold your son) or someone helplessly watching a friend die an agonizing death (son behold your mother)…. This winning love is a turn the other cheek, pray for those who mistreat you, bless those who curse you, love your enemy, go the second mile type love – the same love that has been poured in our heart by the Spirit.
It is this love that we are called to share with one another and with the world. It is this love that provides the most powerful apologetic regarding the person and work of Jesus. Yet, sadly, even though it has been poured within us, even though we are rooted and ground in this winning love - loving this way does not come easy. No, it is hatred, anger, judgment that flows unabated and this never wins – only love wins!
What if we started to be about love, love of God and love of neighbor, and sought out opportunities to love in deed and truth – to allow the love of God to flow through us to those God brings across our path, Christian or not? What if we started to love indiscriminately, wastefully, lavishly? What if we chose to share love with others rather than to try and get love from others – to share this winning love that brings about transformation, gives sight to the blind, release to captives, and casts out fear? What if we, the followers of Jesus, were known as lovers, loving one another and loving those who are in need – our neighbor? I think if we chose to do this we would discover that love does indeed win. Yes, it may be a hard fought battle that rages on and on but in the end, if we are steadfast and immovable, abounding in the love of God, we will see that love wins.
Who can you demonstrate love to today? What would loving this person look like – ask God for wisdom and insight regarding loving another? What is keeping you from loving this person God has placed in your life today? Share whatever it is that hinders the flow of God’s love through you to another – God will meet you there and love you through it and you will experience the amazing and liberating truth that love wins - for it really does. So don’t just sit there—get up and start sharing the transforming, healing, freedom giving love of God – the love that wins.
“…and they’ll know we are Christians , by our love, by our love, yes they‘ll know we are Christians by our love. “
Back to Food for Thought