It was Bonhoeffer who penned, “The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists of listening to them. Just as love of God begins with listening to his word, so the beginning of love for our brothers and sisters is learning to listen to them.”
To love is to listen, to listen is to love. We are desperately missing the point when our zeal for ‘correct doctrine’ (whatever
our tradition saysthat is) surpasses our desire to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are desperately missing the point when our zeal for correct doctrine surpasses our desire to listen to our brothers whom we disagree with. When our theology gets in the way of loving (and listening to) our neighbors, it is time to rethink our theology.
Oh how we desperately need to allow that first century radical, who repeatedly subverted the religious norm of his day, to love his neighbor change our view of holiness.
Start with me.”
I cannot explain how much this resonates with my heart, and how sad it makes me that so many times I’ve failed to realize that the Lord wants to love through me, not just offer a quick rebuttal to others’ views. Especially to hurting people, mere words seem empty and far-off, even if they’re true; turning to the Lord in their discouragement is just what people’s hearts need, but sometimes they don’t have the faith to do it.
I believe God can love through me…and maybe this is my very purpose. Maybe to share in Jesus’ sufferings I need to share in others’. And maybe love can change the world.