God and Us

God and Us

Versión Español

God made us in His image for relationship with Him.

As I mentioned in my last post, there are two ways to fish. One way is complicated – all the gear, lots of practice, special trips, study of both the art of fishing and the habits of the fish, and usually the inversion of copious amounts of time and money. The other way is simple – grab a pole, grab some line and a hook, and go stand at the river. Both methods are good and valuable, but they each look and feel different.

Christianity in our society is often overwhelmed with the complicated approach. Explain, explain, explain. Answer the criticisms, show the proof, argue the details. We live in the information society, so we need to prove everything. This can lead to many fantastic conversations and provide some very fulfilling answers. But it can also rob us of the joy of the simple story of our faith.

So how do we get this simplicity back with Christianity?

I think the answer is just as simple: We focus on the big ideas of our faith, and let go of the incessant need to explain every detail. Again, I’m not suggesting that those details don’t matter or aren’t interesting, just that they can rob us of the simple truths that can bring both joy and peace. Today I want to focus on two big ideas that can get bogged down in details.

The first is this: That God exists.

Our society has made this idea seem foolish, when it’s really quite logical. Complexity by its very nature indicates the presence of an intelligence behind it, so to see a complex world implies a significant intelligence. Morals are intrinsically relational, so it isn’t illogical to think that they indicate a person – God – behind them. Human children look like their parents, so it isn’t ridiculous to think that humanity resembles Someone greater than us. Nothing can create itself, so when confronted with a universe that had a beginning, it makes sense to think something – or more accurately, Someone (since “things” also don’t have intelligent creative power) – began it. Humanity seems to have an intrinsic inclination towards worship, and if not to worship, at least to look for meaning beyond ourselves, all of which points to a source and fulfillment beyond ourselves.

Of course, none of these arguments are “proof”, but that’s not my point here. My point is simply that the existence of God makes sense. It is more our society that has declared it illogical than the actual facts themselves. There is no compelling reason why we shouldn’t believe in God.

But the implications are also significant and simple. Someone is in control. Someone is in charge. Like a child is able rest easy because they know that their parents are present and in charge, so can we “rest easy” because we know that there is a God who is overseeing all of the goings on of humanity and this world, even while giving us freedom to make our own choices. When everything seems out of control, when we have no idea what’s going on, when tragedy hits or when life is going well, we can rest in the simple knowledge that there is One who knows and oversees all. This is peace.

The second big detail is this: that we were created in His image and have intrinsic value.

Humanity is complicated and messy. But we are valuable and special as well. Scripture paints us as made in His image – like God. In some ways, this has been captured in our western society, where we proclaim (but don’t always live) the value of all people, regardless of age, race, nationality, economic status, and yes, even sexuality. Unfortunately, this message of the value of humanity is contradicted by the teaching that humans are nothing special, just advanced primates, and that there is no actual cosmic significance to our lives. What is affirmed in one breath is taken away in the next.

By contrast, Christianity teaches that we are valuable because we reflect God Himself. We are not just extra smart animals. It also teaches that our lives have significance, and that we are created both for purpose (to work and govern this world) and, ultimately, for relationship (eternally with others and with God). From the unborn to the elderly, from the sick to the healthy, from the rich to the poor, and every variation in between, humans are intrinsically valuable. And the heart of the gospel is the story of Jesus – that God Himself actually came as a human to identify with us, to experience our world as one of us, and to resolve the death situation that faces us all (this is a topic for a future post). When reading the Bible, it’s pretty clear that God wants to have a relationship with us – that’s why He created us in the first place.

And so we affirm two simple ideas, both of which can bring tremendous peace and joy:

God exists and is in control.

You are special and loved – created in His image to have a relationship with Him.

Let those simple truths sink in.

Do We Still Need God?

Do We Still Need God?

Spanish version

Something’s been bothering me for a while. Quite a while, actually. I’m not sure exactly how to describe it, but I’ll do my best.

I grew up in a household that was very Christian. And I mean that in the best sort of way. I know it kind of seems fashionable to tear apart “traditional” Christianity, but that wasn’t my experience. My family and church life, while not perfect of course, were pretty outstanding. My grandparents and parents are the type of role models I wish everyone had. There were problems in our church, like most, but there were also a lot of godly people and outstanding teaching that didn’t hide from difficult topics. It was thoroughly evangelical and in many cases leaned heavily toward the fundamental branch of Christianity. But it was good. I grew up with a lot of love, lots of opportunity to ask questions, seek answers and grow, and a clear sense of right and wrong and how to live for God.

As part of that upbringing, I have always been taught, and it is the orthodox Christian belief, that people are sinful by nature and therefore separated from God. That they are, in a word, “bad” (sinful). That includes me and every other Christian, of course, lest Christianity sound too condemning of others. The teaching is that we are all sinful and that only with Christ can we actually change and grow and become good people1. That is, it is God living in us and us following his commands that makes us good. But as I have lived longer and observed many people, it has become harder and harder to hold this simplistic view. (I should point out that my view has never been as simplistic as I present it to be here, but putting it in its most basic form helps bring out the struggle I’m feeling.) In short, there are a lot of people who seem to be pretty good people and live pretty good lives, but they do it all without God. Many of them don’t care a bit about God. And when you add this to the scientific advances which seem to be able to explain most of the world without any reference to God, I’ve been left with one startling question that has been bothering me:

Do we even need God anymore?

At a surface level, it seems like humanity and the western world (because I can’t really speak for the rest of the world) are advancing rapidly. We are surrounded by messages affirming that we need to love and accept one another, be supportive, get rid of racism, sexism, and countless other things that are bad. The world is progressing in many respects, with all sorts of cures, problems being resolved, and so on. It is almost impossible to read any sort of social media without finding countless feel-good stories and demonstrations of the goodness of human nature and the progress of humanity. And most of this in a culture that has increasingly turned away from God in general, and Jesus in particular. So again, do we even need God anymore?

Perhaps it’s more helpful to step back from “everyone else” and just look at myself. I think part of the challenge of this question is that we are trying to “judge” (evaluate) others without being able to see what is happening inside of them. Appearances can be deceiving. It’s hard to know what is happening in a person’s heart or what they’re truly like when we only see snippets or hear selected stories. But when I look at me, I am not fooled by the deception of appearances. 

So what do I see in myself? Well, by most standards, I would probably qualify as one of those “good people” I talk about. My work involves helping people. I’m happily married, staying out of trouble, trying to be a good father to my kids. I’m holding down a job and contributing to society – you know, all the stuff we’re supposed to do. And yet, when I look at my own life, I can’t help but identify four key areas where I feel that God is both relevant and completely necessary.

  1. Life. I have spent the past few months absolutely mesmerized by the mystery of life and the question of what comes next. The fact that life exists at all is ridiculous – why should it? The fact that I exist and live is amazing. Why are we here? Why am I here? And where am I going? It is easy to live life without thinking about this, but at some point, most of us are struck by the wonder and absurdity of life. In my case, perhaps it’s because I’ve turned 40 and hit middle age. But regardless of my reason for obsessing over this topic, I’m certainly not alone. The meaning of life has always been one of the basic questions of humanity. Why do we exist?
    My reflections keep bringing me back to God. I cannot buy the concept that “nothing” created everything – especially an everything that is so incredibly complex. Nor can I buy the concept that we are just a continually recycled spirit that goes round and round until it can someday escape this rat race of life. Both concepts strip life of meaning, purpose and value. We don’t matter as individuals – we’re just parts in an uncaring machine. While those who hold to these beliefs might not live this way, I believe that is only because they are not acting consistent with their beliefs. The concepts themselves lead to no other conclusion. Yet everything in me believes and desires to be more than that. And only a God (a personal, supernatural being) seems to offer both an explanation for life and the possibility of life continuing after death. Without God, we will always live with an undercurrent of desperation and meaninglessness, no matter how we try to window-dress it.
  2. Guidance. When we look around us, there is tremendous uncertainty and even conflict about how we ought to live. While science and studies proclaim certain ideas and trends about what is best, they are often just as quickly disputed by other studies. The end result is a bunch of people making up their own rules and guidelines based on whatever foundation they choose. What’s really interesting is the stark contradictions that we see espoused, especially on social media: We ought to love everyone – except all of the people that we shame for various reasons; this is how you ought to live – just ignore my confession that I have no idea what I’m doing in life; #metoo – oh, and don’t forget to support the porn industry, which totally empowers women. It is a truly stunning world of contradiction and self-righteousness. But with God directing us (again, as revealed in the person of Jesus and in the Bible), we have some pretty clear guidelines about what is good and bad, appropriate or not. Now, you can make all sorts of arguments about whether Christians actually do these things or not, and there are some topics that can cause uncertainty still (such as trying to redefine male/female roles in a modern society or how to understand and apply the Biblical teachings on homosexuality), but on the whole, the guidance that the Bible gives for how to relate to God, this world, and each other gives some strong, clear guidelines for how to live. God reveals how things were meant to be and how we are to live. I would argue that the vast majority of people who live “good” lives without God do so based on Scriptural teachings, whether they embrace the God who gave them or not.
  3. Help. No matter how much we may claim to understand about the universe and how competent we are at handling life by ourselves, it is rare to find someone who does not cry out for some sort of help beyond themselves at times. Many in the world still live with regular, daily need for help. And this help isn’t just about physical needs. Many people struggle with deeper issues, such as fear, guilt and shame and need to know that there is someone beyond them who can help free them from these burdens. This is what God promises – forgiveness for our guilt, love and honour for our shame, and ultimate power and strength (though it is not fully revealed in the present) for our fear and weakness. I think we are overplaying our hand when we declare that we can understand everything in the universe and live all by ourselves without any help from God. For many situations, of course, we do just fine. But then those situations arise where we realise that we cannot solve all our problems, we cannot live the way we should all the time, we cannot extend our life, we cannot solve the problems of the world, we cannot escape from the guilt, shame and fear we face… and suddenly, maybe believing that there is someone outside of us who can help and who ultimately has everything under control is not such a crazy idea.
  4. Being Good. This point was not originally part of the plan, but since I mention human nature above, I feel I should at least touch on it here. I have already stated that we don’t seem to need God to be good. But I feel that I should clarify – this goodness is far from perfect. There are many people who are “good” in comparison to others. We identify them as loving, caring, wonderful people. And they are. But all of them, if they are honest and we actually ask, would recognise that they are not as good as they appear. Any person who has truly sought to “be good” quickly becomes aware of the deep selfishness, pride, critical spirit, anger, etc. that reside deep within. While others might not see it, we each see it in ourselves. The more we strive to be good, the more we become aware of how far from good we truly are – we are, as the Bible describes it, sinful. Anyone who does not acknowledge their own sinfulness, I would suggest, is either too arrogant or too ignorant to see how far from perfect they are. I would argue that here, as well, we need God. It is God who reveals our sinfulness, and creates in us a desire to be rid of it. It is God who offers us forgiveness and love despite our sinfulness. It is God who grants us His Spirit to begin to conquer that evil in our lives. And it is only God who one day can cleanse that sinfulness from us when we come face to face with his glory and presence. We believe that it is He alone who can complete the transformation to goodness that we desire.

So there you have it. Do we need God? In some ways, no. But at the end of the day, I find I do need God. I need Him to explain and provide life. I need Him to show me how to live and to change me so I can actually live that way. I need Him to help me in all those situations that are too big for me (actually, I need Him in every situation, but it’s the big ones where I really notice it). And I can’t help but believe that if we can look past the outward facade that we present to the world, we all need God, far more than most people care to admit.

[1] It is worth noting that Christianity is not actually seeking to make “good people”, but to save us from our sins and the resulting death, as well as restoring our relationship with God. The result of accepting Christ, though, is a changed heart which seeks to obey God. And obeying God should result in a change that makes us “good people”.

The Centre of the Universe

The Centre of the Universe

Versión español

The other day, out of curiosity, I decided to look up where the centre of the universe is. We’ve all seen or heard about the various landmarks in different places – the centre of North America, the Centre of Canada or the U.S. or Mexico (or any other country), etc. There’s something at least mildly interesting about finding the centre of a place. So imagine my surprise when various sources reported that despite there being mass consensus about the universe beginning with a Big Bang, and expanding continuously, there is no centre to the universe! Apparently it has to do with space being curved and space and time coming into existence simultaneously, and other crazy concepts. Whatever the reason, we’re not going to be able to take a spaceship some day and find a floating sign declaring that we have arrived at the centre of the universe. Sorry all you selfie junkies!

But that’s okay. The question behind the search wasn’t really the geographical centre of the universe. The real question is what is the centre of our existence. I have come to realize how significant of a difference this makes in our view of life and how we live.

This question arose in my mind as I have struggled to work through and understand the concept of hell and the judgment of God upon humanity. To be blunt, this seems deeply unfair at times and almost cruel of God. I have struggled how to understand God as a loving God when faced with multiple passages talking about God’s wrath and judgment. I’ll freely admit, God seems pretty angry at times. So what gives?

Two Worldviews

As a Christian, I believe that the centre of our existence is God. Without going into details about the reason for this belief, in short it seems that a personal, intelligent God is the most logical explanation for a complex, conscious, and moral world. I believe anything other than that (an impersonal force or nothing) is inadequate to explain the reality that we see before us. Most Christians would at least claim to hold this belief, but I think a closer examination reveals a different picture.

We presently live in a society which places humanity or individuals as the centre of our existence, and I think that many Christians in North America (and even here in Mexico) have incorporated this view into their life. We still believe that God is “sovereign” over all, but there has been a subtle, but significant, shift. Whereas in prior times the teaching of the church was that God was over all and people existed to serve God, this is no longer what I hear or see. What I see is the following: People are the highest creation of God and God exists to serve us.

People in the Centre

I can anticipate many Christians objecting to this idea. We are not God, after all, and most people are well aware of their shortcomings. Nor is this idea without aspects of truth. But the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Reality in church life shows a tremendous amount of people-centred ideas:

  • how could God do this to me? Why is this happening?
  • it’s not fair for God to condemn people
  • how can God say this is wrong?
  • Jesus just loved people no matter what, and so should we
  • people are so amazing and wonderful
  • God just wants us to be happy and fulfilled

As I said, there is some truth in the concept I mentioned above (and the comments I listed), but there is also deception. To see it, we must look carefully at the full biblical picture.

God in the Centre

Few Christians would argue that God created the world and humanity (despite many disagreements about how He did it). And the truth in the above statement is that people are the highest creation of God. He created us in His image. This is huge and confers tremendous value on each person, whether Christian or not. BUT… this does not mean that we are the centre of the universe. While God created this universe and world for us, this does not mean that He created us to be the main point of the world. HE is still the main point, not us.

If we think about it, this is pretty obvious. Individual humans are certainly not significant enough to be the point of everyone’s existence. We are each rather frail and full of problems. But neither is humanity as a whole significant enough to be the centre of the universe. As a race, we are also extremely frail. Aside from faith, we don’t know where we came from or why we exist. We certainly didn’t bring ourselves into being, nor are we capable of ensuring our existence (just think of the disaster movies that show how susceptible we are to mass extinction from asteroids, etc.). Humanity, both individually and as a whole, is very transitory.

Scripturally, we see that we are representatives of God, not divine beings in and of ourselves. God created us in His image, then turned this world over to us to dominate and rule over. But there’s no evidence that He relinquished his role as king over the world – quite the opposite, in fact. The Bible is pretty consistent in declaring that God is the King. We, frail creatures that we are, are given the distinguished position of his representatives, participating with Him in ruling this world, but never intended to be the centre of it all.

Yet with the growth of humanism, this is the error that we have fallen into. We have embraced the value of human life (true), but forgotten that we are still subservient to the King. We have called God our Father and embraced His love, but set aside His equally valid role as creator and judge who still has a plan for this earth and fairly clear guidelines for what is right and wrong. We have forgotten that God is not focused on our happiness alone, but rather in shaping us and forming us into His image (He is the potter, we are the clay, as Isaiah says).

A Closer Look

This people-centred perspective affects a number of different spheres, mentioned above but amplified here.

  • The nature of people – This is a challenging one, because the value of individuals is one of the greatest things that western society has taken hold of from Christianity (except for the unborn and, increasingly, the old and infirm). People are special and people are valuable. Where the people-centred and God-centred views diverge, however, is in the source of that value and the destiny of humanity. In the people-centred view, humans are seen as the pinnacle of evolution, but it is a bit confusing why we are valuable and special. As near as I can figure out, it is because we are unique, diverse and superior to “other” animals. But there is nothing in either our origin or our destiny that implies any particular value or specialness. Yet somehow this is the view of our society. And what’s more, there has somehow been a leap from the beauty and value of humanity to a belief that humanity is good at heart and getting better, despite a lack of evidence for that (yes, in some regards the situations of many are getting better, but it’s hard to argue that the actual nature of humanity has gotten much better). In the God-centred view, humanity finds its source and potential destiny in God. We are valuable and special because we have been made like God, but we are deeply aware of how far we have fallen (and continually fall) from that potential.There is tension in either of these views, without doubt. The first struggles to show why there is so much evil if humans are so intrinsically good, or why we have value if we are nothing more than intelligent animals. The second requires us to acknowledge our imperfection and guilt, but this is only negative if we fail to understand that God freely holds out forgiving and welcoming arms.Key Question: What is the source and destiny of humanity? Does this actually confer on us individual and corporate value? Our answer to this question will guide most of our beliefs about us as a race.
  • God’s Judgment – one of the biggest problem areas, as I mentioned above, is our reaction to God’s role as judge. When we view humans as the centre of the universe, we begin to see God as angry and judgmental, even evil. We are poor, innocent humans, trying our hardest to be good and do right (although this seems to me to be a rose-coloured glasses view of humanity). In this view, even those who want nothing to do with God are “good people” who deserve God’s love and grace. God exists to serve us and bring us happiness, after all.But if we remember that God is the centre of the universe, and view things from His perspective, the story is a bit different. These same people are not seeking to be faithful stewards of God and to do what is right – many have completely abandoned God, and most are certainly not seeking Him, and most are not seeking to do what is right, rather what is desirable, self-fulfilling and comfortable. He calls them to a certain way of life, and they just choose what they want to obey and what they don’t. The focus of most is their own happiness, ease and comfort, not the development of this world in accordance with God’s laws that bring life. It is true that in our present society, many of those values are in line with God’s teachings (after all, our culture is largely shaped by Judeo-Christian teachings), but that does not mean that people’s hearts desire God or His ways. Nor can we say that these values are intrinsic to humanity, as many of them have not arisen in other contexts (or are only entering other cultures as those cultures are influenced by our Judeo-Christian values).When we understand God as the giver of life who is seeking to guide and lead people, to help us as we seek to navigate this life and develop this world, then the utter rejection by humanity of God looks a lot different, and His eventual judgment makes far more sense. But even though God consistently threatens judgement (and sometimes follows through with it), it is always with a desire to see people change their ways and do what’s right. It’s like he says, “This is what could happen, but please don’t make me do it!” God is consistently presented as seeking out, calling us and desiring restoration. It is humans who are presented as stubborn and obstinate.

    Key Question: How many, when pointed to God or Jesus, will actually respond, and how many will shrug it off and keep doing things their way? If they want nothing to do with God, why do we try to declare that God is unfair to judge them some day? While I have particular sympathy for those who are trying to find God and seek what is right (and I pray God has mercy on them), many do not fall even into this category.

  • Our life – it is very common to see, feel and hear despair over the difficulties of life. Yet this is only a problem if we believe that God is here to serve us. If we understand that God’s desire is our salvation from a broken and rebellious world (first and foremost) and to make us into His image (secondly), then it is neither surprising nor crippling to encounter difficulties. While this world can be fantastic and fun, it is temporary. While we are made in God’s image, we are far from what God created us to be. So it should not be a surprise that we go through difficulties. While not enjoyable, when we have God and His purposes at the centre of our life, we face them with a totally different attitude. We might not understand the specifics of why we are passing through difficulties or how God is going to use it, but we recognize that God can and will use it. The Bible reveals that God is completely for us – He desires what is good for us individually and as a race. But that means He wants us to grow and be transformed, not stagnant, a fact which automatically implies difficulties and challenges. It also means He is willing to give us our freedom, which includes making poor decisions that affect us or others, and facing the resultant consequences. God being “for us” does not mean a life free from problems by any stretch!Key Questions: If many have no desire to do what is right, and even those of us who do desire to do good struggle, why are we surprised by suffering? When Jesus and all the disciples took on suffering as part of the will of God for their good and to advance His kingdom, is it fair of us to expect any less?
  • right and wrong – with us at the centre, we pick and choose what we want to do and what feels or seems good and right. But I believe a fair appraisal will show that our choices are most often dictated by the culture around us or what feels convenient or comfortable. When we put God at the centre, however, there is a fairly consistent analysis of right and wrong. I freely admit there are some passages that are difficult, but on the whole it’s pretty clear. And all people are held to that standard.But aren’t we to love all people, no matter what? Yes, but that’s not the whole story. Jesus loved people, it’s true, but since Mark declares that his primary message was repentance (Mark 1:15), and the message Jesus gave his disciples to preach centred around the same call to repentance and the promise of forgiveness (Luke 24:47), I suspect many of Jesus conversations with sinners – whom he gladly ate with – centred around this concept of repentance. This would certainly explain the reaction of Zacchaeus after talking with Jesus (Luke 19). With God at the centre, we are constantly challenged to repent of the wrong and seize the right, with clear instructions on what falls in each category.Key Questions: Are our individual and shifting standards of right and wrong really adequate for developing and maintaining a healthy life and society? What does it look like to blend Christ’s obvious love for people with his declared message of repentance?


I’ll be the first to admit that making God the centre of our world is tough. I want to be comfortable. I want to have good things. I want God to solve my problems and I want Him to bless me. I want God to serve me. The good news is that God is for us. He loves us and treats us as His children. The “bad” news (which isn’t bad, just difficult) is that He wants us to be for Him as He is for us. He wants us to love Him and centre our lives on Him, not on ourselves. He wants us to take up our divine role as His stewards, building, governing and restoring this world. And that means putting Him in the centre, not us, and accepting all that comes with that.

For the non-Christian or one who doesn’t believe in God, this idea is foolish. Humanity is at the top of the food chain and we make our own destiny. But for the Christian, it is entirely different. If God (Christ) is the centre of the universe, then everything revolves around Him. We live this life not for our own happiness or satisfaction, but to participate in the mandate to create and uphold life. We awake in the morning seeking to know how to govern and live in this world in a way that glorifies God. We face adversity knowing that God is using it to shape us. We view our own sinfulness and the sinfulness of the world as a deviation from what God intended and fight against it with His help.

In short, we live to serve Him, instead of demanding that He serve us.

¿Es el amor de veras suficiente?

¿Es el amor de veras suficiente?

English version

“All you need is love!” (Todo lo que necesitas es el amor!)

Así declaran Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison y John Lennon, mejores conocidos como “the Beatles”. Es una canción muy contagiosa que pega en la mente. Y parece que es el lema de nuestro tiempo.

No lleva mucho tiempo para descubrir este mensaje en la cultura. La Mujer Maravilla lo tenía. Al final (alerta: voy a explicar el final de la película por si a caso no la has visto!), a pesar de una explicación muy correcta de la maldad presente en la humanidad, ella declara que cree en la humanidad. ¿Por qué? Por el amor y la capacidad humana de amar. Podría hacer una lista larga de películas, canciones y libros que hablan de nuestra necesidad de amar y que debemos ser gente de amor. Se lo encuentra en toda la cultura popular – si solamente amáramos mejor, aceptáramos a otras personas por quienes son y trabajáramos juntos, entonces la vida sería muy genial. “Somos una gente, y deberíamos amarnos el uno al otro”.

Ahora, claro, estoy de acuerdo con todo esto. Deberíamos amarnos el uno al otro más. Somos iguales en valor. Deberíamos aceptar a otras personas (aunque “aceptar” y “estar de acuerdo con” no son el mismo). El amor es la fuerza más poderosa del universo y podría cambiar el mundo. En algún sentido es cierto – todo lo que necesitamos es el amor!

Desafortunadamente, somos muy malos con el amor.

Ahora, no quiero pintar un cuadro que no es justo o negar la realidad. Claro que la gente es capaz de amar. Y hay muchos ejemplos del amor. Somos (generalmente) buenos para amar a nuestra familia. Somos (generalmente) buenos para amar a nuestros hijos. Somos (generalmente) buenos para ser corteses y respetuosos durante nuestras interacciones cotidianas con otras personas. Somos (generalmente) buenos para amar a otros desde lejos, personas que están de acuerdo con nosotros, personas que nos tratan bien y personas que alinean con nuestras creencias y causas. Y podemos mostrar gestos dramáticos de amor por nuestros seres amados o en momentos de crisis. Entonces estamos capaces de amar y aun de un sentir un amor muy profundo y apasionado.

Lamentablemente, la vida no consiste de momentos de crisis y gestos dramáticos y personas que son fáciles de amar. La vida consiste de todos nosotros. Y cuando extendemos más allá de nuestra situación cómoda, el grado de amor que mostramos declina dramáticamente. Amamos a nuestros hijos, pero no al maestro que los trata injustamente, el bully que los está molestando o el patrón que no les da las horas que necesitan para sobrevivir. Amamos a nuestros prójimos – hasta que son inconvenientes o interfieren con nuestra paz y comodidad. Amamos a los pobres, siempre que solamente tengamos que sacrificar un poco para ayudarlos. Amamos a otras personas, a menos que no estén de acuerdo con nosotros políticamente o filosóficamente. Amamos a nuestros esposos o parejas con pasión, pero no siempre prácticamente. ¿Una cena bonita? ¿Una película? ¿Una escapada romántica? Claro!! ¿Levantar la ropa sucia? ¿Mostrar respeto y paciencia? ¿Perdonar una ofensa pequeña? No tan fácilmente. Amamos en un momento de crisis (un temblor, un muerte, un tiroteo, etc.), y luego se nos olvida y seguimos con nuestra vida lo más pronto posible.

Como dije, no quiero pintar un cuadro demasiado dramático, pero quiero mostrar lo obvio – no somos tan buenos en el amor como pensamos. Reflexiona sobre las siguientes preguntas:

  1. ¿Qué tan bueno amas a otros cuando estás cansado, estresado o no tienes motivación?
  2. ¿Qué tan bueno muestras amor a los que no están de acuerdo contigo?
  3. ¿Cuán rápido puedes perdonar a los que te ofenden? ¿O que te lastiman profundamente?
  4. ¿Cada cuánto de veras sabes lo mejor por alguien más, y cada cuánto nada más sigues la tendencia de la sociedad o adivinas a lo que es mejor? En otras palabras, es tu amor hacia ellos amor verdadero, o resulta en lastimarlos por accidente?
  5. ¿Cuán listo estás para sacrificar por otros para mostrar el amor? Y estoy hablando de un sacrificio verdadero – dejar de ir a restaurantes para dar dinero a los vagabundos en tu comunidad, o dejar tu propio plan por la noche para hacer lo que tu espos@ quiere hacer?

Mi punto (sobre todo con la última pregunta) no es culparte para hacer algo, o decir que nunca debes pensar en ti mismo. Hay que encontrar un balance entre cuidarte a ti mismo (ser sano) y sacrificarse por otros. Ni es mi deseo denigrar la idea del amor. Creo que “the Beatles” tenían sentido cuando cantaban que sólo necesitamos el amor. Es solamente que creo que necesitamos un poco de ayuda para amar, y amar bien. Y estoy más o menos seguro que yo sé por dónde buscar esa ayuda.

En la Biblia, encontramos una frase corta pero interesante: “Dios es amor” (1 Juan 4:8). También encontramos una de las descripciones más hermosas del amor (1 Corintios 13:1-8, 13), una descripción del poder del amor (Cantares 8:6-7), y el mejor ejemplo del amor en la persona de Jesús, quien vivió una vida de amor y luego estaba preparada morir por nosotros para restablecer nuestra conexión con Dios.

Pero hoy en día, hemos desconectado el amor y Dios. Hemos hecho el amor nuestra meta, sin reconocer que no somos muy aptos en identificar el tipo de comportamiento que muestra el amor, y que solamente tenemos éxito en eso a veces – sobre todo hacia aquellos que son difíciles de amar. Además, el amor, siendo en su turno un concepto, un sentimiento o un verbo, no es algo que podemos capturar o agarrar muy firmemente. Es escurridizo, fácilmente descaminado y a menudo mal informado. Es una amante inconstante. Sobre todo cuando está guiado por nuestro corazón, sobre el cual el profeta Jeremías dice, “nada hay tan engañoso como el corazón. No tiene remedio” (Jeremías 17:9). En la misma manera que tendemos a pensar que el amor es la respuesta a todo, igual pensamos que somos lo suficientemente buenos para entenderlo y guiarlo en la dirección que debería ir. Hay una buena razón por la cual Jesús mismo dijo, “Nadie es bueno sino sólo Dios” (Marcos 10:16). Aunque a veces amamos bien, a menudo no lo hacemos. Necesitamos ayuda.

Entonces ¿por dónde la encontramos? Creo que no existe ninguna fuente mejor que Dios mismo, quien es amor y la fuente de todo amor. No hay mejor ejemplo que Jesús, quien nos modeló el amor (aun hacia los difíciles y cuando le costó muchísimo), y quien nos ofrece el amor incondicional que anhelamos. No existe ninguna guía mejor que la Biblia, que nos muestra qué Dios ama y cómo debería ser el amor, en vez de lo que las ideas inconstantes de nuestra cultura tratan de decirnos. No existe un poder mejor que el Espíritu Santo, Cristo mismo viviendo dentro de nosotros, para ayudarnos a amar cuando es imposible hacerlo por nuestra propia fuerza.

El cristianismo siempre se ha definido por su amor. En diferentes lugares y tiempos, los seguidores de Cristo han olvidado eso, se han desviado por la cultura, han fallado y han modelado muchas cosas que no son el amor. Y a veces, aun con la ayuda de Dios, es difícil sabor como amar bien. Pero en Dios (más específicamente, en Cristo) tenemos la fuente, el ejemplo, la guía y el poder para poder vivir vidas de amor.

Si tú, como muchos otros, anhelas que nuestro mundo sea un lugar del amor, te animo a establecer esa conexión con Jesús, o (si ya eres cristiano) examinar cuidadosamente tu vida en la luz de su ejemplo y dirección.

El amor es todo lo que necesitamos. Siempre que entendamos que “el amor” es “Dios”.


Wallpaper gracias a Analaurasam.