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Raif: Are we really showing our love?

Love

When was the last time you sang the song below in church? Did you really think about the words, or was it just a beautiful song to you? We sang it in our church this past Sunday. I believe the words should be sung, believed, and practiced by everyone. It was written by Peter Scholtes.

We are one in the Spirit, We are One in the Lord

We are one in the Spirit, We are One in the Lord

And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.

Chorus: And they’ll know we are Christians by our love by our love

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

We will work with each other we will work side by side.

We will work with each other we will work side by side.

And we’ll guard each man’s dignity

And save each man’s pride.

Chorus

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand.

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand.

And together we’ll spread the News

That God is in our land.

I’m ashamed, mortified and saddened by the latest multiple shootings in California, Ohio and, closer to home, El Paso. Have we lost all respect for life, even if it’s not ours or doesn’t adhere to the way we live or believe?

We as Christians are to be examples of God and His love. Frankly, I can’t blame a person, especially an impressionable”’ young person, who says “Why should I go to church, or believe in a God who allows these killings, this disrespect, this hatred?” Who will tell that young person this behavior is not what God allows?

It is done by those who think they have the right to do what they want. Or think it is right because they are a church member and God will forgive them of their wrong beliefs, attitudes and actions. It is done by those who don’t respect the sanctity of life because they’ve never received it or seen it in practice. It is done by those who can’t accept a person’s different color of skin, or different language, or way of life. It is done by those who believe God will forgive them even if they don’t repent and seek to change their ways and attitudes.

So you’ve grown up in church and somehow seem to think your actions, attitudes, and judgments are in line with what you were taught in Sunday School or the church service. What makes you morally superior, any better in God’s sight, if you can’t understand that you must be the true example of God’s love and acceptance? It may be true you are following the teachings of the pastor. Did it ever occur to you the pastor may not be doing what God wants? If you’ve followed the stories in the newspaper about sexual abuse perpetrated by pastors and church staff members, then you should know their actions can’t be trusted to be those God requires. It’s like the blind leading the blind.

None of us is perfect, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m not. But I try to be pleasing to God by my words and actions. I’ve been at the bottom and I know what it’s like. I also know I would not be the person I am today if Christians had not known my needs and reached out, giving, not out of their abundance, to help me who had even less. They never judged me, but their love instilled the intense desire to live as Christ wanted me to. Once I became solely dependent on God, He opened doors I didn’t even know existed.

What kind of love do you show others? Can they really see God’s love and acceptance through you? Can they see there is another-better-way of life by the example you are setting for them?

All praise to the Father, from whom all things come.

And all praise to Christ Jesus, His only Son.

And all praise to the Spirit who makes us one.

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.

— Gayle Raif, a Longview resident, is a regular contributor to the Saturday Forum.

Today's Bible verse

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

Psalms 63:1

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