Monday, February 11, 2019

A New Way of Being Human

Maumee Bay State Park, Ohio

This morning I continue reading through the gospel of Matthew. Then, I read the daily entry from You Are the Beloved: Daily Meditations for Spiritual Living, by Henri Nouwen.

I have been praying to love like Jesus loved, from the heart. I'm not there yet, but I desire it. For then I would be free in ways I am not now, which is to love without demands.

As I read, the Holy Spirit hits me twice.

Matthew 5:43-45 in The Passion Translation reads:

Your ancestors have also been taught 
‘Love your neighbors and hate the one who hates you.’
However, I say to you, 
love your enemy, 
bless the one who curses you, 
do something wonderful for the one who hates you,
and respond to the very ones who persecute you 
by praying for them. 
For that will reveal your identity 
as children of your heavenly Father.

Here Jesus says my identity is: one who loves as he loves. As I love this way, I present myself as a child of God. I have left the world system where hatred of the other rules the day.

Then, I opened the Nouwen book to the February 11 entry. It reads:

The love of God is an unconditional love, 
and only that love can empower us 
to live together without violence. 
When we know that God loves us deeply 
and will always go on loving us, 
whoever we are and whatever we do, 
it becomes possible to expect no more 
of our fellow men and women 
than they are able to give, 
to forgive them generously when they have offended us, 
and always to respond to their hostility with love. 
By doing so we make visible a new way of being human 
and a new way of responding to our world problems.

(p. 47)

Always respond to hostility with love.

Every time.

In loving like this I present myself in the new way of being human.

I do wonderful things for people who hate me.

I bless, not curse them.

I leave the uncreative hatred of my subhumanity, and adorn myself with the garments of my true humanity.

My two books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

I'm now working on...

Transformation: How God Changes the Human Heart 

Technology and Spiritual Formation

I am editing a book of essays on the Holy Spirit, authored by my HSRM colleagues. Hopefully this book will be out by the end of May.

And, when all this settles, Linda and I intend on writing our book on Relationships.