But the greatest is love

“”We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger;
We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda

I am a Christian. I am pretty devout in my faith. My faith means a lot to me. I’m a weird mix of liberal and conservative, depending on the issue. This election cycle, my faith has been challenged like never before. People are flocking to a Cheeto-coloured overgrown toddler simply because he says the words they want to hear and he has an R beside his name. And me, with my gentle faith? I cannot wrap my mind around it.

When I was a kid growing up in the Nazarene church, we were taught that Jesus loved the unlovable. I remember belting out “Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he! He climbed up in the Sycamore tree, for the Lord he wanted to see! And as the Saviour passed that way, he looked up in that tree! And He said… ZACCHAEUS, YOU COME DOWN! For I’m going to your house today! For I’m going to your house today!”

Now, quick Bible lesson, Zacchaeus was a tax collector. In Ye Olde Bible Times, the tax collectors were looked down on. Cast out. Undesirable. In the same way, we look upon Muslims the same way. We cast them out. We try to deport them. We paint them as evil, sinister, villains. But I believe, with all my heart, if Jesus were here today, these are the ones he would be hanging out with. Not the white, cookie-cutter Christians… but the ones that society casts out.

Love.

Before Adolf Hitler rose to power, did Christians feel the same way I did? They didn’t have the luxury of watching history repeat itself, but did they feel the same fear?   And what was the result? A mass genocide of Jewish lives. Of disabled lives. Of Polish lives. Of Roma lives. A mass genocide of lives that didn’t fit Hitler’s mold. In his very own words: “If I can send the flower of the German nation into the hell of war without the smallest pity for the shedding of precious German blood, then surely I have the right to remove millions of an inferior race that breeds like vermin”

I would have been put through cruel experiments and murdered in the name of medical science had I lived back then in a Nazi-controlled country. I would have been considered a mercy killing. Many of my friends would be murdered in cold blood for things they cannot control. And as a Christian? Seeing the chance of my friends being murdered? Exiled? Deported? NO. This is NOT the love of Christ. This is NOT a man Jesus would stand behind.

When Jesus was angry, he didn’t stay silent. He spoke words of truth. He flipped tables. He, to take one of my mottos, kicked ass and took names. He stood up for what was right. And he did it all with words of love.

That is what we are called to do, my friends. To reach out in love. To speak the truth in love. Love should guide our every thought and our every action. Is this was Donald J. Trump is doing? Is this the message he is spreading? Donald Trump shouts out words that propel a doctrine of hate.

At the very core, the Bible is a doctrine of love. As the lyrics to a song from Rent state, “give in to love, or live in fear.” I let love guide every aspect of my live. Love is how I make decisions. Love is how I decide what is right. Love is the guiding force. Love is the strongest force of all. When I look at Donald Trump, I see no love. I see someone who uses fear and hate to boost his message. I see someone who is racist, ableist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic… and completely void of love.

 

1 Cor 13:4-7 (New Living Translation)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

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