I would like to thank my friend, Chris Dickerson, for allowing me to copy his work in its entirety to share with you all. This little article is very thought-provoking and meaningful, and I hope you all take the time to read it and be blessed (and perhaps changed) by it. Thank you! ~Sarah
This is What Love Looks Like...
"This is something I have been mulling on for a few weeks now and decided to write it down and share. Too often we get hung up on the rules of Christianity and forget that the foundation is love. We zealously espouse our rules rather than showing others why those rules might be of value; I know I am guilty of that and to those I have done it to, you have my apologies.
"What I want to do is think about the foundational rules of Christianity, the Ten Commandments, but instead of stopping with them, try to explain, in my limited understanding, the real reasoning behind them. Maybe we Christians can live them better if we look into the rules rather than just at them. I will be putting verses in part because they are well known and this will allow you to look them up rather than just taking my word.
"When asked what is the greatest commandment, Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
"This summarizes our duty to God as set forth in the first four of the Ten Commandments.
"1. 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me.' I am your Creator and your Savior, without Me you don't even exist. And I performed both of those acts because I love you and want to be with you forever. There is no one else quite like you and without you My universe would not be quite complete. I want you to love Me totally because of what I have done for you in love. Having other gods means you don't appreciate what I have done, continue to do, and want to do for you, but have limited your vision to yourself those things right around., including human power which is weak and failing in all its forms, including money.
"2. 'Thou shalt not make any graven images or idols.' If you are making an image that you claim is Me, how can you do me justice? I am huge, the creator of the entire universe, I am greater than your mind can comprehend which means something you make to represent Me doesn't nearly capture who I am and what I can do. If you are making something out of wood, stone, metal, etc., what can it do for you; it has no life, just an object. You are depriving yourself of access to real help and power when you limit yourself to these items no matter how large they may be. Why limit yourself to what your mind can comprehend when I am and have so much more I want to give you because I love you.
"3. 'Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord they God in vain.' Loving someone mean respecting them, if you love me, why would you use my name in a vulgar, insulting, or simply low and common way? Just because I have to power to destroy does not mean I wish to or take pleasure in it, especially just over minor human disagreements. Why would I want to destroy people I created so I could have a special relationship with each? Yes, the day will come when I am forced to allow sin to consume itself and all those who have become one with it, but I will take no pleasure in those lost; I will miss them. Of course that is only one way My name is taken in vain, the more hurtful is those who claim to be mine but then do their own thing as though what I asked is unimportant. Misrepresenting Me hurts Me not simply because you are lying about who I am but are hurting others I have created and want to have a relationship with; you damage those relationships by your actions while claiming to follow me. Seeking your own pleasure while saying you are a Christian shows just how much you are missing, you want all the benefits without any of the 'responsibility' but don't realize that the real benefit is the intimate friendship I want with you, one that is truly freeing because I take away your guilt.
"4. 'Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it Holy.' I have set aside a specific time each week where I want to meet with you and deepen our friendship. Come and meet with me because you love me for creating you and saving you from evil. The time I've set aside is a reminder of what I have done for you both in making you and the world you enjoy and in freeing you from the slavery of sin. I don't demand your time and attention and if you love something more than me, then go do that, but I miss your company. Meeting with me is to be a time of joy though people have often made it a burden, please don't let their misinterpretation of who I am prevent you from knowing me personally and realizing the happiness I want to give you. Just as you would make special time for close human friends when they are available, I simply ask that you make the time for me when I am not only available but have made the time for you and promised special blessings because I love you.
"And then He added, 'And your neighbor as yourself.' This captures the qualities of the last six commandments because our love for God is expressed in our love for those He created and loves just as much as each of us.
"5. 'Honor thy father and thy mother.' I used them as my special helpers in creating you. They have more experience and hopefully wisdom with which to guide you both in avoiding mistakes but also in developing your friendship with Me. They were asked to put up with a lot when I gave you to them and, ideally, they accepted the challenge without a second thought simply because of love for who you uniquely are. They were supposed to represent me and, while some have failed miserably, I still love them and you and remain your truest and most involved parent.
"6. 'Thou shalt not kill.' For to kill is the antithesis of expressing love. It shows that you value something or someone as being more important that life I created and, if it is a person, died for. I did not spare My life, though I had every power to do so, but trusted Myself to My Father's love and allowed Him to take care of things; He protected Me against the worst Satan could do and does the same for all with a close friendship with Him. I did that because I valued your life as being more important than My own and My example is to be your example. While I recognize there may be times when the relative value of life means you need to hunt to sustain yourself, but if it is unnecessary then why is there a need to kill My creation for your person pleasure; be it appetite, power over life, or other reasons.
"7. 'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' Love does not willfully injure another and consciously tries to avoid unintentionally hurting another. If you love Me then you will not hurt the one I gave you to share the challenges of life with. This means even the thought will be guarded because the love will mean you wouldn't even want to have thoughts that might hurt them if they could read your mind. I can read your mind and so I can know whether you appreciate My gift and love us both as a result, or whether you are merely seeking selfish pleasure at the expense of one of those I love until such time and you can obtain that pleasure at another's expense. They may not always be perfect, but look in the mirror and understand that what they have devoted themselves to is not perfect either but both in a relationship with Me will grow into perfect love.
"8. 'Thou shalt not steal.' Have I not met your needs and more, or have we not developed a relationship where you can trust My word completely? I have promised to take care of all you need, but that isn't sufficient and your patience is lacking so you injure another for your benefit. You value your immediate pleasure over the security of one I love, wounding them mentally and emotionally so you can feel a false measure of short-term pleasure. Trust Me and My love for you and I will give you what you need, when you need it, and so much more that you won't be able to keep it all.
"9. 'Thou shalt not lie.' Love means being honest, even when it is painful, though one should never be careless or thoughtless when expressing the truth. Being right does not give you a right to self-righteous, mean, or vindictive because in doing so you are lying about what truth is really like. It is kind and considerate, tries to limit pain as much as possible, even is a world where pain is normal. Failing to be honest is an attempt to benefit oneself over that of another whom I love, whether it is a bald-faced lie, a white lie, or an implied lie where the other is allowed to assume something that isn't true. You are valuing yourself as more important than they are which is neither how I value you nor the example I lived.
"10. 'Thou shalt not covet.' This is the thought process that leads to killing, adultery, stealing, and lying, the precursor of a sin simply looking for an opportunity. As with stealing, it demonstrates the lack of trust you have in Me and my love for you. Because that is lacking you are continually looking to self-satisfy rather than looking to Me to satisfy; we have a tenuous or even broken relationship that I would like to fix. Please raise your eyes above the temporary things of Earth and look to Me where all needs will be permanently met because I love you.
"This is the standard we are expected to meet as Christians and because we didn't as humans Christ demonstrated what love is more directly and in doing so made an escape for His friends. That is what we should seek to be, His friend just as He is already ours and then the friend of all those other people He loves and wants to be friends with. Oh how much we miss in our religion today either making God a God of rules or a God of desperation forgiving all sin because He can't bear to destroy anyone. Neither is true, He is a God of love whose rules express that and a God of justice whose love demands letting go of those who have become so integrated with their sin that they would not be happy with Him. 'Love seeketh not its own,' whatever that may be.
"Those are some of the thoughts I have had rolling around, you are welcome to add or comment because I know this is just barely scratching the surface, but my hope would be scratching it just a little more deeply than we often do. All I would ask is that you please be gracious if responding, I know that religion is a touchy subject but true Christianity is not; the problem has long been all the people masquerading as Christians, including me too many times."
**Written by Christopher Dickerson; used with permission.**
Yes, I would readily welcome your questions and comments! How has this post touched you or caused to you think differently? Is there any points that you agree or disagree with? Thank you again! ~Sarah