It has been said that words are cheap, it’s actions that define. Recently, I thought about this when I thought about the word love. Today, we hear that love should be applied everywhere justifying how we need to love sin and justify sinners because love never judges anyone. Love does judge as Jesus said, and the words we reject from Him will become our judge in the end.
John 12:48 But all who reject me, and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken.
So, to be clear, God’s words of love will judge. However, I would like to talk about how our usage of the word ‘love’ has become so cheap. I like to define words by how we are to use them in practical, everyday life. For example, when we say we love someone, we are saying, “I respect, honor, and dignify you. You deserve to be treated with the same kind of love that God has for you.” If I am to be the hands and feet of Jesus on earth, I should treat people in the same manner that He would.
Words can be cheap. We say I forgive you when someone hurts us, yet the attitude of unforgiveness lingers through the lack of restored trust. We no longer trust the people we say we have forgiven. I, personally, have a hard time trusting someone I have forgiven who was guilty of betrayal toward me. I think a breach of trust is the hardest for us to forgive, and then turn around and trust that person again. I have had many betrayals in my lifetime, and few have ever regained the trust I once had in them. It is one thing not to hold a grudge against the guilty party, but it’s quite another thing to trust them as you once did. Yet, we all betray God and He never says, “I will forgive you, but I will never again trust you.” His forgiveness is complete. He wipes away the sin of betrayal, and His restoration of trust is complete as if it never was violated. We too must find it in our hearts to forgive, and that forgiveness comes with complete restoration of trust. The meaning of forgiveness has some strong practical applications, as it does for love.
What about the meaning of discipleship? In many churches today, we talk about discipleship, but the meaning of that word goes far beyond what is commonly thought. Discipleship is thought of as the process of making someone become like Christ in all aspects of living.
Jesus loves everyone, He gave His life for all human beings … past, present, and future. Yet, discipleship is solely based upon our desire to be like Him. Think about the requirements Jesus laid out for defining a disciple:
Luke 14 26You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot follow me unless you love me more than you love your own life. 27You cannot be my disciple unless you carry your own cross and follow me.
This is where discipleship breaks down from its defined meaning given to us by Jesus. Today, discipleship in some churches has defined discipleship as a path to be more fulfilled as we follow Christ. Yet, Jesus told us we must love Him more than all the close relationships in our lives, including ourselves. In fact, the last part of that Verse is one we don’t like because it requires sacrifice. The Cross identifies how willing we are to sacrifice our lives in order to be like Christ. It isn’t about how fulfilled we can become … it’s about how willing we are to give our lives to honor and obey Him. We gain Christ, by giving up our lives:
Matthew 10:39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
Words do have meaning, don’t they? Our communication can be so meaningless because we use words so superficially. Do yourself a favor, think about words when you use them. If you are a disciple of Christ, does the word disciple make you think of what was spoken of by Jesus in Luke 14? When you use the word love or forgiveness, does it come with the full meaning of those words? How many other words that you use have deeper meanings than how you use that word?
It has not been for nothing that the word has remained man's principal toy and tool: without the meanings and values it sustains, all man's other tools would be worthless. ~Mark Twain
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler