Sunday, March 5, 2017

When Love Prevails

This is my fourth day in this beautiful, welcoming country. I'm here for a Global Outreach mission conference. Missionaries from around the world will be joining us in a few days. 

So much has happened, and I hope to share it with you, but, today, I'm still processing my first conversation from less than an hour after arrival. It might take a while to share all that I've learned.

The driver who picked me up from the airport and drove me to the Conference Center greeted me and welcomed me to his country, as all have.

As we drove, he shared information that stunned me. "We welcome everyone here. Me, I'm Muslim, but no matter. In Jordan, Christians and Muslims get along." 

I doubted it, until I saw it in action. 

Finally, yesterday, I asked someone. How could this be? The answer shocked me. "Our King has instructed everyone to be kind to the Christians."

Ponder that for a moment.

The King, a Muslim, has led the way in showing favor to the Christians.

The longer I've considered this, the deeper my realization that our King has also instructed us to be kind to those who are different from us. 

Be kind. Love all. 

It's the royal law of our King. (James 2:8) "Love others as you love yourself." 

Today, I learned something stunning. The Christians who started the Baptist Hospital here, as well as the ones who served here for the next few decades, honored the royal law of our King and lived it out in ways that could not be overlooked.

One of the woman I've met described Mrs. Lovegren, one of those early Christians. "She welcomed everyone. She loved Christians and Muslims and everyone. She served us, welcomed us into her home, visited us in our homes. She treated everyone the same." 

Here's the stunning truth. This faithful woman, Mrs. Lovegren, left Jordan more than thirty years ago. 

Ponder that a moment. Her legacy of unconditional love lives on three decades later. 

Will my legacy of love continue to make a difference three decades from now? I'm afraid not, but that's what our King intended. 

This evening, I visited a persecuted church. As it turns out, there isn't harmony and love in every situation. Like in the body of Christ, not everyone obeys the direction of their king. 

The pastor at that church, who has had numerous break-ins at his home and everything he owned stolen on more than one occasion, preached an amazing sermon tonight on the importance of loving your enemies and doing good to them. The people of his little church are trying to be the light in the darkness. 

Turn the other cheek. Love the unlovely. Do good to those who harm you. I'm not sure I could do it, but I've seen a small band of believers who not only believe they should love and forgive as Christ did, they're determined to do it. 

Loving our enemies isn't easy. I know that. 

It's also not optional.

The beautiful people here have given me a living, breathing picture of the royal law of our King in action, and I understand that I, too, must love as Christ loved, for it is in that divine kind of loving that true discipleship begins.

"Love never fails... These three remain: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:8,13