I think that love and holiness have to go together.
I believe that either one apart from the other is far less than the two united together.
If I were to reframe the thought that love and holiness have to go together, I would say that I think there has to be a space where we care about people and where we live according to a standard.
If I just say I care about people deeply and do nothing to really express or demonstrate it, it’s so empty. It sounds nice, but it leaves so much to be desired. I would wonder if it was really love if there was no set action to prove it as real, to give evidence to its life and meaning and depth that can change us for the better.
And if I just say I live according to a high standard of rules without possessing patience, kindness, endurance, hope, and other things that would make rules worth following, it’s just terrible. Again, it leaves so much to be desired.
I will add that I understand more now that the word “holiness” can be used in a lot of different ways to form standards that seem void of God’s love. I recently explained some of this while explaining why I don’t use my sexual attractions and interests to identify myself.
I was trying to describe a dangerous logic often used by Christians when talking about sexuality in terms of holiness. I explained that Christians may say, “There’s only one right way for sexuality, and that’s between a man and a woman. Anything else should not even be discussed, and if it is, it will be detested because it’s just not right.”
Clearly, a statement like this focuses on doing the right thing, so I could comprehend it seemingly being about holiness. A statement like this also seems void of God’s love, particularly if and when it’s taken out of the context of God’s love. Consequently, I have to wonder if it is really about the holy standard I am pursuing if the love seems so absent.
Personally, I understand love through the life of Jesus Christ. As true as this is, it can sound a bit trite, so I won’t just leave you there. I will add these statements that are hopefully less trite.
I understand love when it is expressed and demonstrated fully and freely by people around me.
I understand love when I have received it knowing I did not deserve it.
I understand love when it fulfills fundamental needs, like food, sleep, safety, respect, belonging, purpose, etc., especially when I need them most.
This love is no weak sauce love. It is real. It can be tested and it will pass.
To me, being a good person, doing the right things, having all the knowledge, resources, and power mean nothing without this kind of love.
When I was a teenager and just really beginning to take God more seriously and personally, I associated holiness with all of these things: being a good person, doing the right things, and so on. I understood that to be what it meant to be in a relationship with God, to be saved, to be in God’s will.
Now, I think I am much more intentional and deliberate about this most important relationship with God being centered on this real, strong sauce, testable and passing love because it encompasses everything.
God’s love is everything, and the more I understand and receive it, the more I am subject to its standard.
I also think that really living and loving according to this standard that God has can mean doing all kinds of risky, inconvenient, and radical things that don’t seem all that right. I’ve mentioned that in some of my first posts about loving people, about it not being so easy.
This standard of love is most expressed and demonstrated in the life of Jesus Christ. This standard of love led this man to die for people who returned sacrificial love that they needed with open ridicule and hateful judgment. Not only was that risky, inconvenient, and radical, it was good and right and holy.
And it’s exactly what I am pursuing.
Love Love Love,