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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Unrealistic Expectation

The poem “Darkness” illustrates the nature of a man before the light of the Truth shines in his heart. There is no benevolent love that guides his actions and he’s centered on him self and his will. He is irresponsible toward God, himself and others and believes he is justified in every evil deed.

A popular effort of many today is to try and remove the distinction between believers and non-believers. Their reasoning is valid, in part, but I think it is a great disservice to our Lord and even to those non-believers to fail to make this distinction. Jesus Christ is the tremendous difference that is the light and the life that separates us from the darkness of the unbeliever and from the second death. The believer who fails to accept this distinction cannot fully appreciate the real hope of the Gospel and creates an invalid expectation toward the non-believer. This could lead to disappointment and discouragement and could possibly even hinder the Gospel message.

It is certainly true that all men have the ability to experience emotions, even an emotion we commonly attribute to love, but is this affection the indwelling love of God named in 1st John 3:17? The Greek word used in this verse is “Agape”; a noun that refers to an attitude of good will and benevolence. This is the love we should expect from our brethren as evidence of their kinship to us in Christ. The scripture offers a detailed description of this love in 1 Corinthians 13:4,8. This benevolent love is only possible in God. A non-believer might have affectionate feelings of love but they have no motivation to love others in a benevolent or caring way. We should not expect a non-believer to exhibit this type of love. If we remove this distinction and expect the non-believer to have this benevolent love we’ve created an unrealistic expectation. This expectation will manifest itself in our disappointment at their self-centered behavior and could promote the idea that our hope in Christ is nothing more than in a way of acting right. The Gospel message is then lost and, worse, replaced by the belief that a believer is simply someone who exhibits “Christian” behavior and expects everyone else to conform to this same behavior.

In no way does this excuse us from the commandment to love nor is it cause to treat anyone differently. In fact maintaining this distinction is essential if we are to love as Christ commanded. We would not expect more of our brethren than what they can do and so it should be with non-believers. They are no different from us in every way but for the gift of God. We do have great cause for hope and hope does not lead to disappointment. It sets no timeline and has no expectations, other than the sure promise of God. With respect to non-believers our hope is that steadfast desire that they come to the knowledge of Jesus as Christ. In this way we accept them as they are, and love them having faith that God is able to redeem them too.

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12 Comments:

Blogger Pia said...

this verse came to my mind while reading your post. "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14) there is the distiction but it doesn't mean though that we have to avoid the unbelievers like they have some kind of a disease. and yes, they are no different from us in every way but for the gift of God. we have to do our part as God commanded -- to make fishers of man.

oh, i wish i can claim to have written that peom i posted last week, but no, it wasn't me. but it sure expresses how i feel to a T.

11/20/2005 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger curious servant said...

Amen.

We are designed to be loved, and a Christ follower should follow His example and love others. It is how we know we have worth.

11/20/2005 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Pia that verse was on my mind too and I almost linked to it. I'm glad you added it here.

That was a very beautiful poem and I would say you express it to a "T". ;-)

You and your family are in our hearts, on our mind and in our prayers. May God bless you all.

CS thanks for those thoughts and for adding the consideration of value. I'm so thankful for you and for your blessings last week.

11/21/2005 04:47:00 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

this is so true. I also believe that this is the cause for so many Christians today attacking symptoms instead of the main problem. We've got to remember that the unbeliever has absolutely NO power over sin. Therefore, we shouldn't condemn a sinner for sinning, but rather love him enought to bring the Gospel message that frees from the power of sin.

11/21/2005 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kristi, I agree and I think it's just as important that we love our erring brethren but that's a post for another day. Thanks again for your thoughts. ;-)

11/21/2005 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger pecheur said...

I am sure this is a good post. I just have not gotten around to reading it. ;)

11/21/2005 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Pech, trust me; ‘tis par excellence! (grin) I will read it to you myself when you get home but for now just take care of you and Lady R. ;-)

11/21/2005 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

This is a nice blog.

11/22/2005 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

DF thanks for the kind words and the visit. I am going to read up on yours now. ;-)

11/22/2005 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Jody said...

this makes me think that God's love is equal towards everyone, yet mine is not. i know we have family and dear ones we have more love for, but in general, we should love everyone with the love of Christ. perhaps the verses in james that speak about us being "at war with the world" have been slightly misapplied in the lives of believers. i don't know...

11/22/2005 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger forgiven said...

More christain should be looking at our Lord as our Husband to be . The one that died for me (personable). My love, my king. And try to tell other people of His love . The bible is a real long love letter to me. Cool post . It great to be in love with Jesus

11/22/2005 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Forgiven that's an interesting perspective and Jody I am studying the aspects of love right now and trying to come to a better understanding on it. In the past I divided love into one of two types, His or ours but my study is pointing me in a different direction. It seems so many different Greek words were translated to the English word “love” but each has a specific meaning and intent. What seems to be coming apparent is that each “type” of love varies with the relationship. This is only a suspicion and I’m sure it will change but at present it seems God does not require us to have a benevolent love toward Him but rather an accepting and entertaining love and this is the same love we are to have for our "neighbor". The love He requires we have for one another (believers)is the benevolent love, the same love He has for us all. If my study continues to follow that line I hope to post on it soon so we can (discuss it, critique it, tear it down) thoroughly. ;-)

11/22/2005 12:14:00 PM  

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