I was going to take this week off from my blog. My son is home for Christmas break, and I expect my daughter and her husband to arrive mid-week.
However, my husband sent the following to our pastor in response to his sermon last Sunday evening. The text was I John 2:7-11, Paul’s admonition to love one another:
Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
The Swede isn’t a writer; he’s an engineer. But both my pastor and I thought he had some good things to say, things worth sharing. Besides, posting his words here gives me the opportunity to show you a picture so you can see just how good-looking he is. So, as this week’s offering for Michelle’s Hear It, Use It Community,meet the Beloved Swede:
I mentioned the movie Gran Torino last night–in the context of Frank (I think that was his name) allowing himself to be subdued in order to subdue his enemies. That ending was unexpected and powerful in many ways.
It has been a long time since I saw that movie, so some of the details are fuzzy. But, I mean to watch it again.
Real sin is ugly and disturbing. Gran Torino deals with real sin. It also illustrates real sacrifice and redemption—which is why the movie is so powerful. I think it also does a decent job of illustrating real-life hate and love, and the often-times difficult path between them.
Frank probably really hates his Hmong neighbors—at least because they remind him of his real war enemies. Frank is a lost soul. A life already ended. Setting aside what initially motivates Frank, (a beer I think) he ends up taking small steps of being near these people he thinks he hates—but, really does not even know.The edges start to come off as Frank simply spends time and learns about the struggles of these people. Simple knowledge turns to investment. Investment leads to caring. It is an imperfect process. In the end, Frank gains back his life and sacrifices it so that former strangers might simply have the chance to live their lives in relative peace.
Frank is a complex character, sometimes ugly—so are we as sinful people. I think the process illustrated in that movie, however, while extreme in its circumstances,is not far at all from the way it works for all of us. We can’t simply command ourselves to love others. We need to stand alongside, invest, give; sacrifice.It is in these actions that we learn how to love. Christ did these things and we need to practice them. In doing these little things, we are loving—even if the real caring does not come until later. I think we have a tendency to think that loving always starts with a warm fuzzy feeling – or that it should. So, we wait around for the warmfuzzyfeeling before we make our move. I think more often it starts with an uncomfortable feeling and awkward steps.
The darkness is passing away. The true light is already shining. May God give each of us grace to love one another well as we gather to celebrate the One who surrendered Himself.
Linking with Michelle @ Graceful:
And with Jen and the sisterhood:
Also look for me at Michelle’s place again on Wednesday, where she has graciously invited me to guest post.