A healthy church culture is defined by love – authentic love for God, authentic love for each other and authentic love for an unbelieving world. If Shoreline is a great church, it’s because we are great at loving. Love is the only measuring stick that matters.
The win for Shoreline is love. Sure, we want to have a clean building. We want services that are fresh, creative and insightful. But the bottom line is that we are good at loving.
And isn’t that what the world needs?
Our world keeps spinning ever-increasing spirals of hatred, prejudice and segregation. Into this world Jesus comes with a radical message about courageous love.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. a But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Matthew 5:38-42 NKJV
So what is Jesus saying?
Love Unconditionally –A slap in the face is the ultimate humiliation. Just imagine you’ve been insulted or humiliated and your honor is at stake. What do you do? Jesus says to turn the other cheek. What a courageous expression of risk, unconditional love!
Love Generously – In the first century, a law was made that you could sue someone for their tunic but never for their cloak. The cloak was so necessary for survival that it was off limits to lawsuits. Jesus challenges us to give over and above what is asked of us, to love generously and without limits.
Love Perseveringly – Under Roman oppression, first century Jews were at the beck and call of Roman soldiers. Soldiers had a legal right to coerce people into service. The Jew’s negotiated a one mile limit, but Jesus shows us that love goes the extra mile. Love goes for as long as it takes. Love perseveres.
Love is not hard when people are lovable. Real love is expressed when people are difficult to love. Love like that will never fail to draw people into the Kingdom of God.