Posted on Oct 17, 2017 by Meghan Harmison
Dear Salem Family,
A passage from a book I’m reading currently got me thinking. One chapter is called No Strings Attached. Jen Hatmaker writes, “I was scared, first and foremost of God…I was also scared to love people. What if they were wrong? Wrong about what you ask? Oh, just anything. Wrong living, wrong ideas, wrong faith, wrong crowd. If I loved someone ‘wrong,’ then I was complicit. I was lending approval to wrongness, and that would banish me from God’s Good Side, obviously.” This made me think about how some people talk about the other and how we are “supposed” to live. She is talking about her faith and how she grew up and how differently she thinks after life experience and more understanding.
She ends up saying something pretty profound about the other and about love. “By word and deed, example and instruction, Jesus would teach His followers to love the outcast and the poor, to embrace their communities and each other. He would give them distinct marching orders – generosity, humility, grace, inclusion, courage – and tell them it all boils down to two things: loving God and people.” There are no strings attached to that. Love God and love people. Even if I love people different than me, doesn’t mean that I have to agree, I just need to love them.
I like the words she uses, generosity, humility, grace, inclusion and courage. We should love generously. This world could use more love. Less hate. With love comes humility. Let’s put others first. When you love with no strings attached others become more important than you. (This doesn’t mean self-care isn’t important, however I think we learn a lot about ourselves through humility.) We are not perfect. We all need a little grace. When we love with grace, I think we are better humans for it. Inclusion is key. We have to let people know they are loved and include them in that awesome love. And love takes courage. It takes courage to love the outcast, the poor, the other.
This love thing is hard. Love God and love people. It’s not going to be easy and Jesus never said it was going to be easy. We all need love. We need love and grace when it’s hard for us to love others. Then we have to push ourselves to love when it’s difficult. This love thing is hard. But, it is our call. And this world could use a little more love.
In Christ’s love,
Director of Adult Ministries and Outreach