“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father Romans 15:11-15 (The Message)
I like the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, something I am sure that I have shared with my readers in the past. The AA community has a lot of straightforward sayings that are deceptively simple- thinks like “One Day at a Time”; “Keep it Simple”; “Easy Does It”; “It Works if You Work It”; “Keep Coming Back” and dozens of other helpful phrases. A corollary of “Keep it Simple” is “It’s Simple, but it’s not Easy”.
This got me thinking the other day as I was talking with a client and reminding her that she was likely overthinking a particular situation. We all do that. It’s called “anxiety”. I talked about spiritual approaches to our broken world, and we discussed how hard the world’s problems press down on us at times, but that our calling is simple. High theology is good in its place, but when it comes to dealing with practical ways to encounter our world, it comes down to this- love God by loving one another. That is what Jesus, in his last hours on earth, told his followers to do (the passage above).
Now, that is simple, but it is not always easy. Trying to figure out a broken world, and our calling as Christians to try to be healers and reconcilers in it is hard. The solution, while simple, is not easy. Loving people in many situations is not natural, it is supernatural. By that I mean, the Holy Spirit is the one who needs to love people through us. We just need to let him.
By the way, that’s another one of the sayings for Step 3- “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” This is often summarized by the phrase, “I think I’ll let Him do that”
Good stuff. It works if you work it.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for your simple plans for how to heal a broken world. Help us to work toward your plans, Amen.