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"This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased." - Matthew 3:17

The difficulty with the love of God is that the human heart assumes it has to earn God’s love, or at least work hard to justify receiving it. It’s very difficult for the broken human soul to conceive or think about a love that is not earned. We assume that love is contingent upon our performance. We think, “I love you because of how you treat me” or “I love you because of what you do for me.” “I love you because you’re such a nice person.” All of these are a love that is responsive. Only responding to certain conditions that elicit our love.
 
The love of God, however, is a motivating love. It requires no performance. It is self-giving love that flows from a nature that loves us always; whether we are high capacity producers or not.
 
For us to somehow presume that we must earn God‘s love through our behavior or justify God loving us by living up to production standards sends a signal to God that His love is counterfeit. Do we really mean to do that? Probably not. But our own brokenness has jaded our understanding of love to such limitations.
 
The love of God is unconditional. It is not tied to performance or output. It is in the love of God that the human heart finds ultimate shalom. Rest in the love of God and be affirmed that you are a child of God.

Blessings,

Kevin




You can’t really escape the widespread differences of opinions today surrounding political issues. At first glance, it presents itself as something where there is a right and a wrong position and the extremes become pretty radical; protests and harsh words create tension. With a bit of reflection and humility, however, we may come to understand how each is passionate about some dimension of the issue and there really is a common desire for people and human culture. Some people see the issue through the lens of safety in their community, others through preserving an economic system that is sustainable, others through lenses of human suffering, and still others through lenses of ethnicity. When we listen in humility, we find the voice of the other person helps us to moderate our own extreme; and we find that it isn’t so “black and white,” as we thought. The other person’s priority may actually have some value and it doesn’t mean they are not in favor of the greater good for all people.

Some have called for sacred resistance. Such a posture, however creates a starting point of antagonism and antipathy, often with the result of vitriolic words that hurt and divide. May I urge instead “GRACEFUL ENGAGEMENT.” Graceful engagement certainly engages and speaks out when it is appropriate – but only AFTER listening and seeing the image of God in the other. The outcome is a “via media” or middle way that is not so much compromise as it is seeing with eyes that are anchored in God’s nature and reaching into the circumstances of people’s lives.

Can you allow Christ to give you a humble, listening heart? Acknowledge that at times our own bias may cause immediate reaction that can skew the balance of your life. Anchoring yourself to the heart of God provides the basis for healthy engagement. That center, that anchor, that focal point should be Jesus who brings wholeness, integration, and balance. Mostly, he helps you see that the key is a humility that brings listening. And that brings the deepest peace in the midst of competing priorities.

Kevin Mannoia


WHC & Seedbed/New Room Summit
April 11 & 12, 2019
Chicago, IL

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