I often hear people discussing how bad the world is. And they have a point. There is no shortage of violence, hate, suffering, and pain in the world. The sad part is the people I often hear talking about how bad the world is are Christians. Followers of the crucified and risen Christ. People who trust that the tomb is empty. People of the New Creation…who celebrate that through Jesus God is beginning to heal, rescue, and reclaim the world he created and called “good.”
And I also hear Christians saying other things. Things about other Christians. Things that tear down and do not build up. Things that bring division and not healing. I hear them sometimes coming out of my own mouth. Why do we do this? Why do we have such a hard time loving others?
We wonder why the world struggles to love? Maybe because we, those who claim to know the Source of love, who claim a relationship with a God who is by definition love…maybe the world struggles because we struggle.
There is a quote attributed to Augustine of Hippo that I have found helpful in my own struggle with my attitude. This quote reminds me that I can love and even have fellowship with other Christians…even if we disagree.
“In essentials, unity,
in non-essentials liberty,
in all things charity [meaning love].”
There are certain bedrock truths. There are some things that are left to interpretation. But love must shape our conversations about all of them.
I think this connects to Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13, being gifted or sacrificial or right…without love…is nothing.
Maybe Burt Bacharach is right.
So, for your listening pleasure, please enjoy Australian singer Ricki-Lee singing, “What the World Needs Now.”