When I hear the above question, I automatically start singing the song by Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack recorded in 1972 –
Where is the love
You said you’d give to me
Soon as you were free
Will it ever be?
Nice love song.
I also go in my mind to The Black-Eyed Peas version from 2001.
Bit if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeah
Where is the love, the love, the love?
Non-Christians were asked for a one-word description of Jesus.
And the survey says, “LOVE!”
They’re right! Jesus told his followers that God’s will for all humanity is summed up in two commands: Love God and Love your neighbor. Jesus went on to say that our neighbor is anyone who needs our help. Then Jesus takes this love thing to a crazy level when he says that we are not just to love our neighbor but we are to love our ENEMIES!
When Jesus tells us the one thing that identifies us as His followers…
That one thing is Love.
Not a belief.
Non-Christians were asked for a one-word description of Christians.
And the survey says, “Judgmental!”
Are they right?
Barna’s research seems to say so… Check out this article – 87% of 16-29 year olds say Christians are judgmental.
Ok, so Christians have an image problem. We’re viewed as way judgmental.
But is it an image problem or a real problem?
In another Barna studyDavid Kinnamon, said it’s real: “Many Christians are more concerned with what they call unrighteousness than they are with self-righteousness. It’s a lot easier to point fingers at how the culture is immoral than it is to confront Christians in their comfortable spiritual patterns.”
Jesus’ approach was just the opposite. Check out his story in the 4 Gospel accounts. You’ll notice that Jesus never got angry with prostitutes, adulterers, or people guilty of the “typical” sins. The only people Jesus judged and got ticked with were the religious folks for their judgmentalism, self-righteousness and failure to love.
The weird thing is this: the people who claimed to know and follow God better than anyone else ultimately killed him when he showed up.
The above Barna study revealed that 51% of American Christians polled have attitudes and actions that are more like the religious folks (the Pharisees) than they are like Christ. Based on the Barna research, here is what today’s Pharisees say:
- “I tell others the most important thing in my life is following God’s rules.”
- “I don’t talk about my sins or struggles. That’s between me and God.”
- “I try to avoid spending time with people who are openly gay or lesbian.”
- “I try to point out those who do not have the right theology or doctrine.”
- “I prefer to serve people who attend my church rather than those outside the church.”
- “I find it hard to be friends with people who seem to constantly do the wrong thing.”
- “It’s not my responsibility to help people who won’t help themselves.”
- “I feel grateful to be a Christian when I see other people’s failures and flaws.”
- “I believe we should stand against those who are opposed to Christian values.”
- “People who follow God’s rules are better than those who do not.”
What’s missing from the list? Love. Where is the love? In Jesus.
To sum it up, let’s do what we hear in the last verse from The Black Eyed Peas:
Now, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y’all, y’all
Good sermon on Sunday,1/11/15