Have you ever met people “of the world” who exemplify sacrificial and sincere love? Of course you have, so have I. I know lots of people who claim no affiliation to Christianity who have very loving marriages, loving families, and who serve their communities and friends with a love that would readily lay down their lives for others. In fact, I know people outside church circles who would put to shame most Christians in the love department, present company included.
When I think of ultimate demonstrations of love, I think of situations like 9/11 where countless rescue workers gave their lives (or health) to save others, with no thought of their own safety or future. Many of them were young parents with little ones at home or babies on the way. They fearlessly headed up into the burning, swaying towers that day to save as many people as possible, so that those they saved might return home to their families alive.
I think of Greg Mortensen (last blog entry), a simple guy who has given his life and resources to building schools for poor Muslim children who are the victims of war. I think of Gandhi, a devout Hindu, who gave his adult life to promoting tolerance, peace, and goodwill among his fellow countrymen, regardless of religion. I think of countless young people, selflessly serving our country’s military in the midst of war, putting their lives at stake daily. Even though I am not an advocate of war, I completely acknowledge the fact that most of these men and women are sacrificially serving our country out of sincere love.
Along those lines, I recently came across this video of a man who serves the poor in his southeast India city. What is remarkable about this story is that the man is a Brahmin Hindu, the highest “caste” who is not supposed to associate with “untouchables,” or poor people. Yet for love, he has laid aside his job and personal comforts, likely facing intense pressures and ridicule from societal superstitions and stigmas, to do what he knows is the right thing to do—to love and serve the least of these.
Obviously many of these people who are serving and laying down their lives for others are not “believers.” After all, they didn’t say the sinner’s prayer and they don’t go to church on Sunday. So here are my questions:
- Is their extreme love for mankind a waste?
- Will God still punish these people with the wicked?
- Does God turn a blind eye to their love and refuse to reward them?
- Did those who died in service of humanity give up their short lives in vain, only to be lost forever?
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Peter said, “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
Do these verses actually mean something other than what they say? And if Jesus actually meant what He said about love being more important than anything else, what does that mean for all those people of the world who know how to love better than I do?
Personally, I think we’ve got most of it wrong. I think we’ve totally misinterpreted the character of God, making Him in the image of man. In the coming weeks, I’m going to be pointing out some of the seeming contradictions we believe about God’s character based on traditions of men. Perhaps it will whet your appetite for my next bomb…er, um, book, coming out in January. It’s going to ruffle a few feathers, that’s for sure. But maybe, just maybe, for some of you, it will be a taste of Living Water.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on how you think God will handle the loving lifestyle and sacrifices made by others who are not professing Christians…