One of the things that I have to keep in mind when I'm trying so hard to love this world that I don't naturally love just because God so loves this world...is that God so loved me when I was so caught up in this world that I don't love.
That is, God so loved me when I was part of the problem.
God so loved me when I was broken. God so loved me when I was lost. God so loved me when I was selfish. God so loved me when I was busy falling in love with this world.
That's the kind of thing that changes our perspective. At least, it changes mine. It's so hard for me to love the broken things, even if I'm not falling in love with their brokenness, but if I stop and think about it, it's when I was broken that I realized that God loves me and if God loves me when I'm broken, how much do all these other broken things need to know they are loved with the love of God?
See, God just doesn't set up the kind of barriers that we do. God doesn't have all the hang-ups about brokenness that we do. That seems strange, right? Like, how could a perfect God not have hang-ups about all of the imperfect things that are happening in His creation? And yet, God so loved His imperfect creation that He sent His one and only Son straight down into it. (Sure, so that He could make it 'very good' again, but isn't that what all of our broken things are longing for? To be 'very good' again?)
This whole world is aching, is groaning, to be very good again, and if I get so high and mighty on myself just because I already know that that is promised to me, then I can't answer the ache of the world for the very same. I can't bring the kind of hope that I have - that confident assurance - into the world's broken places if I can't remember that once upon a time not so very long ago, I was part of them.
It's a tension that we have to figure out how to live in, knowing God's grace intimately and yet, never losing sight of what makes us so desperately in need of it. Living into the promise of God that we are new creations and at the same time, never pretending that we were not once old creations. Dwelling in the kind of hope that we have that what once was won't always be and also never forgetting that it absolutely was. If we could only figure out how to live with this tension, how to embrace both of these very true things, I am telling you, it would change the way that we so love, with the love of God, this world.
Because it wouldn't be so hard any more. We couldn't hold onto our hang-ups about it. Once we realized that we actually understand a lot more about the brokenness of this world than we want to admit, it's not so hard for us to see with redeemed eyes what's really going on here. It's not so hard for us to know, without a doubt, what a difference the love of God would make. It's not so hard for us to understand how we got here.
Then, we're not full of judgment; we're full of grace. We're not condescending; we're encouraging. We're not looking down our noses; we're reaching out our hands. We get it. We get the brokenness. We may not like it, but we get it. And because we get it, we can love into it.
For God so loved even us.
And so must we.