Thursday, July 24, 2008

double negative

Decaffeinated coffee, nonalcoholic beer, unleaded gas, nonfat milk, unsaturated fat, sugar-free candy, and duty-free airport shops all have one thing in common; they are all known for what they are "not." They are named and characterized by what they don't have rather than what they do.

Christians often fall into this category as well. We are often known for what we don't "get to do" or aren't "allowed" to do. We are accused of being "unfun" and "sin-free," both of which are "untrue." Sometimes we are also known for not having things that we should have. We have a reputation for being "unforgiving," "grace-free" and "unloving." And while there is some of that in the church, it is also true that the most graceful, forgiving, loving people I have ever met have been followers of Christ.

It is true that Christians need to begin to be known for what they "are" rather than what they "aren't." We need to develop a reputation for what we stand "for" rather than just what we are "against." Jesus was good at this. People often tried to categorize him solely based on what he was "not," but he always managed to break through those confines to reveal who he really was.

If we Christians must be known for what we are "not," then let's be known for having a love for people that requires "no" hoops to jump through and "no" tests to pass. Let's be a people who's love can best be described by what it doesn't have. There was one "un-" that Jesus let stick to him. He never parted ways with this descriptor and neither should we. His love never fails to be "unconditional."


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