Applied Love and Mercy

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to ungrateful and evil people. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Luke 6:35-36

It was this video that started me thinking yesterday. An aged Brennan Manning sits in obvious deterioration eeking out a few words about love. The younger him begs us to believe that we are loved, that there is mercy, that a Father’s love passes through “fidelity and infidelity,” through “the morning sun and the evening rain.”

I sent this video to a friend, a good soul who lives out Gospel better than I could ever hope, and he told me that he still struggles to believe it all. So he works. And his works are good but they do not produce love. And he feels this tension so he works more. It is an unending cycle, an addict’s plight. If we are honest, we are all so guilty.

Last night some friends pushed me through Luke 6. The words of Christ to a double oppressed people were difficult. “Love the Romans,” he says; “love your own religious oppressors. If you want to find out what God is like, love. God loved evil people, sinners who could not keep the law. God loved you. And by the way, be merciful. Your father has been more than merciful to you.”

There are those who teach that the theology of love is too easy, a lazy man’s easy way out. “What about truth,” they say, and by it they really mean “what about scripture memory, and theological constructs, and the Greek and the Hebrew, and the soup kitchen, and Tuesday night visitation, and for the sake of everything that is holy, what about apologetics? Apologetics are the most important.” Those things are good, no doubt. But with apologies I ask, “what about applied love and mercy?”

Manning asks it differently, “do you believe that God loves without condition or reservation and loves you this moment as you are and not as you should be?”

His question is not rhetorical.

*Thanks for the video, John. Looking forward to reading your tag-team effort.

**Photo credit.