I had a post all set to go for today. In fact, I still have it minimized on my computer.
But I woke up this morning thinking about Mel Gibson. No, not like that. I was thinking of a recent interview I saw him do on The Tonight Show. Mel talked about his impending divorce from his wife of 20-something years and the fact that they've been separated for the last 3. He admitted that he'd done a "hatchet-job" on his marriage and he was willing to take the blame for its failure.
Then he confirmed the rumors not only that yes, he is dating that beautiful woman people have seen him with, but yes, she is pregnant with their baby.
I thought of all that and then tried to reconcile it all with the man who wrote, produced and directed the movie, The Passion of the Christ. It is without a doubt the most heart-wrenching, powerful, emotionally raw and most realistic movie -even using the Latin and Aramaic languages- ever made about Jesus Christ. I've only been able to watch it again one more time since we saw it in the movie theatre and my eyes were closed for much of the scouraging scenes and my stomach was sick for most of the movie.
That was my Lord suffering and dying for my sins.
The man who made that movie had to have poured out his heart and soul into it. He reportedly spent millions of dollars out of his own pocket to make the movie because no movie studio would take a chance on it. He endured criticism for everything from holding private screenings for certain individuals, to the opinions held by many that the movie was too violent, to the controversy surrounding his original desire to have no subtitles, to the attacks of others who claimed that the movie was anti-semitic.
But he made the movie anyway. It seemed there was a passion that moved Mr. Gibson to make that movie. He even thoughtfully chose to be the hand who hammered the nail into Christ's hand because, he explained, it was his guilt that nailed Him to the cross.
Indeed. And it was mine.
So what has happened? How has he gone from a man who so desperately wanted to tell the story of Christ's crucifixion, giving us all a glimpse into what it could have looked like for an innocent Man to be nailed to a cross for our own sins, to a man who admittedly ran his marriage into the ground, and now, before he is divorced, is openly dating another woman, and has gotten her pregnant. And he's on a talk show talking about it.
Of course everything I just wrote I thought about this morning in a matter of seconds. And the thought that lingered, that led me to the computer to write something different to you today was, what has happened to our love for God? What happened to the love that Mel Gibson seemed to have? What is happening to the love of self-proclaimed believers in Jesus Christ in this world?
How can we say we love Christ and hate our brother?
How can we say we love Christ and get divorced - something that God says He hates!
How can we say we love Christ and harbor unforgiveness?
How can we say we love Christ and go about our merry way, doing our thang, never even considering if that thing is God's will, never even going to Him and asking the Lord what His thing for us is?
Are there people left out there who still love Jesus Christ with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their strength and with all their mind? We don't even seem to respect God anymore. I hear Christians use God's name in vain; I hear Christians whine about having to go to church (which is anywhere believers in Jesus Christ gather), I hear Christians complain about helping a brother in the Lord.
Where is our love for the God Who sent His Son to die for our sins?
Has our love grown cold? Have we tip-toed into the world just a little bit too much? Have we been affected by the world rather than us affecting the world? Are we just afraid to look different? Are we afraid to have some of the types of attacks that were aimed toward Mel Gibson directed at us?
The Lord has increasingly put on my heart that times for all of us are going to get more and more difficult. The world is going to turn against the Christian faith more than it ever has. There is going to be a shaking of our faith, and if we're sitting on the fence when it happens, we may not know on which side we'll end up.
Please, I implore you, if you have been on the fence with your faith, one foot in the world and one foot trying to live a Christian life and yet not doing very well at either, get off the fence and get back to your first love - loving your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let's ask to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that we are overflowing with His love so that it spills out all over everyone around us. Let's love God enough to desire to do His will, to be Jesus' eyes and ears and arms and feet on this earth. Let's have the mind of Christ.
Ask God for forgiveness for the sins you've been committing and for going your own way.
Love your brother.
Work on your marriage.
Forgive those whom you need to forgive.
And then lets get back to regular prayer and ask God what He wants you to do today, and then do it! How does He want you to spend your...His...money? Does He want you to take the time to tell someone, maybe a co-worker, maybe a neighbor, maybe a relative, that God loves them and sent His Son to die for them, too?
If you find that your love for God has waned, ask Him for it back.
Let us be the salt and light in this dark and lonely world. Let us be the example of loving unconditionally, not just when everything is going our way or when others are loving us.
I pray we seek to be Spirit-filled and love as Christ loved - passionately, joyfully, wholeheartedly, unabashedly, sacrificially, without thought for ourselves, but thoughts only of others and for their good.
And if you're hearing for the first time that God loves you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for your sins and you want this relationship with Him, click on the How to Know God tab at very top.
"Therefore since we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest you be weary and faint in your minds. You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." (Hebrews 12:1-4)