2 Peter 1:5-7 (NLT)
5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
This scripture has popped up twice recently on my daily devotionals. Must be getting a bit of a message here.
2 Corinthians 9:8 (NLT)
8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
At my daughter’s recent graduation from college, the commencement speaker (Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries in LA) talked about what it meant to be of service. He called it living at the edge. He called it bringing light to the edges. It was another incredible call to serve those who are marginalized.
The church has done a good job of taking care of the marginalized. From schools to hospitals to social support organizations to clean water and food to prison ministries to infinity the church is there, and is often there first, living at the edges of society, at the very fringe.
Yet it’s also done and a poor job as far to many who call themselves Christian take the “moral excellence”, “self-control”, “patient endurance” and “godliness” to a sanctimonious, puckerbutted, legalistic fever pitch and leave out the “brotherly affection with love for everyone”. That seems to be the church the world likes to focus in on, and it’s a rightful condemnation.
We are called to love everyone. The same love for the unloveable that Christ shows us consistently in his words and actions is where we are called to live and love. Leprosy is largely eradicated, but homelessness is not, prisons are not, nor are the homes that create the fringe. And the list goes on and on – it’s a broken world.
Lamentations 3:22 (NLT)
22 The faithful love of the Lord keeps us from destruction! His mercies never cease.
Do our lives look like that? Do our mercies never cease? Does our faithful love keep others from destruction? Do we embrace and love all those the hypocritical church turns away? Do we love those that scripture calls us to love (that would be everyone, even those that disgust us)?
Do we live at the edge and be the vessel that brings God’s light to the dark?