So there’s a line but not a line?
Exactly. We love each other — fellow believers — with a special intensity, the kind of love known only among families.
But we love unbelievers, too. But can’t share the same intimacy and relationship with them that we share with our spiritual family. We don’t share the same worldview. We don’t share the same King. We have different faiths. We worship different gods.
In a sense, that makes our love for unbelievers all the more special, because it reaches across lines that are unbridgeable without a miracle. And so we love unbelievers by the power of God, and therefore we love them in a way that reveals God in us.
The love itself reveals God, but only if we share our story — our part in God’s story. Indeed, to us, sharing the story is the greatest of all blessings we can give to those we love.
But there are countless ways to mess this up. We can share Jesus in judgment, condemnation, and arrogance. We can share Jesus selfishly, for the good feelings we get out it or the congratulations we receive for being a soul-winner.
We can share Jesus inarticulately, failing to express what’s really in our hearts, because we aren’t so sure. Maybe we don’t really much understand our faith, having lost true understanding somewhere amongst the tract racks and attendance counting.
Maybe we need to occasionally take inventory, re-evaluate why we’re even doing this, and radically rethink the world and where we fit.
And when we do that, maybe we need to start by thinking really hard about faith in Jesus. Because I think we all need the occasional reminder about where it all begins.
You see, we tend to think our faith walk began with faith and moved on from there to ethics or church organization or missiology or something. But it’s really all just faith.
(Rom 1:17 ESV) For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
And faith is deep — really, really deep — but not so deep that you can’t learn something new about it over lunch.