I think I read somewhere that the most long-lasting and at least somewhat important things were (are) "faith, hope and love" 🙂
So… in just one yet hugely important area of life- human relationships -what if we lose faith in a person? What if they have seemed to habitually break our trust?
Mind you, I don't mean to say they occasionally mess up- all of us do that. I don't mean that they merely make mistakes. We all do!
I mean that 10 out of 10 honest people with no "axes" to grind all come to the same conclusion: this individual is a constant in terms of faith: we can't trust her/him to be faithful.
Might it come to the place you not only lose faith in them- but also no longer hope in them?
Could it be that you and I might eventually consider them hopeless, a person we don't really think we can either trust (faith) or even hope (our assessment becomes "they are not likely to ever change in the positive sense, grow, mature") in or hope for them?
And if this happens what happens to God's command to US to love them?
I have seen a good many people make such judgments. We can not only fall into it with regard to other people but even in our judgment of God Himself.
Granted, some folks may truly "never change". Whether actual sin nature, mental illness, substance abuse, lack of teaching, lack of patient family members or positive
friends or any number of elements enter in, for whatever reason some folks truly may never change from the hurting-and-hurting-others sorts of people they are today.
Now God, on the other hand, is perfect in all His ways. He is literally unchanging, Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday, today and forever".
So we have imperfect, sinful and/etc. humans who may bring us to lose faith, hope and as at least a partial consequence we begin to go "down a quart" in love for them. I'm not saying we should allow ourselves to slide like this, only that it happens and we need to face it, be aware of it and take measures to repent, pray, read and apply the Word of God (Bible) and genuine forgiveness, grow in the fruit of patience, etc., and deal with -our own hearts- rightly when we interact with such people.
How do I know any of this? I have been there and may be there in the future. We work with many broken people. I/we ARE broken in various areas…
I'm also saying that sometimes our own judgment and summing up of where people are at and likely to stay at is often quite warped and wrong.
Jesus literally commands us to love one another… regardless. No matter.
I'm not saying we should trust just anyone at any time with all our money, or the keys to our car, house or church office! Not at all. What I -am- saying is that when we don't trust them we may eventually lose hope for them and begin to consider them unworthy of our love or somehow beyond God's love. I think that is a massive mistake. At such a spiritual/attitude juncture we may allow our own hearts to harden -and sin to enter our life.
"Love one another" means exactly that. Further, I don't believe anyone could make a solid argument that Jesus loved Judas any less even after he betrayed Him. God's heart of love isn't somehow "changed" but our own hearts can be quite fickle and Proverbs reminds us- "guard your heart for out of it flow the issues of life".
One more huge point in all this.
At times we judge God. Plenty of people are angry or hurt due to God not doing whatever it is they want Him to do, or not doing it when they wish it done.
They are then tempted (and I have seen many fall this way and myself been tempted to do likewise) to essentially "curse God and die", to just backslide and run off doing their own will because that's really what they wanted God to help them do in the first place!
It's sort of like "I can't have faith in Him because He didn't rubber-stamp and finance my personal desire(s)… therefore I don't hope in Him anymore… therefore this 'love' thing is a joke and I'm outta here. In fact I don't believe in God!"
So many individuals, so many marriages, so many bands, so many local churches and ministries, so many businesses and all sorts of relationships have blown apart in an epic way right at these crossroads.
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love".
They indeed remain in God and in the Church and in the world where the people of God walk.
How are they "remaining" in your life and mine, in terms of our human relationships and in our heart attitude towards God and others today?
MAJOR questions, no?!
Thanks for stopping by, -Glenn