Many followers of Jesus, it would seem, do so for a selfish reason. They are Christians because they want salvation. They want to avoid eternal damnation to Hell. For many, this is the beginning and end of faith. This is a selfish faith.
For others the preoccupation with salvation extends to concern for people who do not “know Jesus” or “accept Jesus” into their heart. In their understanding of faith, compassion requires them to evangelize nonbelievers aggressively for their own well-being. They are genuinely worried about others. (Sadly, it doesn’t feel that way to folks being told there is only one way to avoid fiery pits.) This is a worried faith.
This is not my faith or god. The One who loves extravagantly does not stop loving me when I do not love back. That is not love.
This does not give us carte blanche to act in evil ways. Hardly. The god that I experience keeps at us pushing us, encouraging us, and enticing us to respond to godself and others lovingly. Once we accept the love of the One, by whatever name, we want to be better beings. This is a loving faith.
You see, when we perceive the magnanimous, relentless salvific love of God, we want to love back. We want to love in the same way. And, so, we choose to co-create a world (with God) in which all feel the love that binds creation and the divine together. We begin by loving.
Loving One, your love is palpable if we but open ourselves to you. Help us to be extensions of your love to all our earthly family. Amen.