Saturday, February 16, 2008

Another Letter from a Friend

In the Spirit of Valentine's Day, today's letter is about love that has been lost. In Revelation 2, John writes to the church in Ephesus a letter that strikes me as tough news to hear.

"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

It appears to me that the church in Ephesus had done fairly well. They had sniffed out and removed the false prophets from among them. They had suffered for Jesus with joy. But they had lost their love. They had right doctrine and right action, but they had no love. They had lost the love of God, and seemingly, their love toward others.

I've been there before as well. I can be so sure of what I am teaching that I lose compassion toward those that I am teaching. I can be consumed with the desire to be "right" and convinced that someone is either misinformed or bordering on heresy that I lose that which distinguishes Christians: love.

I've done it. Churches have done it, and even denominations have done it. Jesus calls us to love in all that we do. Let's heed that call

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