Loving or Coexisting?

Brian Harrell   -  

Loving or Coexisting?

Is coexist the best you got?

Have you seen those cutesy bumper stickers with the word “coexist” on them? The letters of the word coexist are written in symbols identifying the major religions and philosophies of the world. All those symbols are right next to each other, coexisting on a bumper sticker without fighting or trying to convert each other; how sweet.

The coexist crowd is best friends with the tolerance mob. The driving attitude seems to be something like, “I’ll leave you alone if you’ll leave me alone. You have your space and I have my space. Don’t bug me and I won’t bug you. You have your truth and I have my truth. Let me do what I want, and I’ll let you do what you want.” The idea behind this philosophy is that if we could keep to our sides of the street and stop imposing our values on others, the world would be a better place.

I would answer this crowd with this – “is this the best thing you got; coexist and tolerate?” Coexistence is something I do with my cat; He stays in his space, and I stay in my space, and we try to tolerate one another’s existence. Coexist is lame and feeble and milquetoast as a rule of life. It masquerades as deep, but it’s shallow.

Jesus teaches us to love, not coexist.

Jesus, as usual, comes along with something way more radical than tolerating people. He tells his followers to love, not tolerate, not coexist, but love. Love is giving someone what they need most when they deserve it the least and usually at a great personal sacrifice. Another way to say this is that love is to will the good of another ahead of yourself no matter the cost to yourself. Jesus said that this kind of love would be the mark of his people. Jesus’ people would not live in their own little tribal self-serving world staying on their side of the street; they would love people everywhere without reservation or discrimination.

People were so astounded at the message of love that they demanded Jesus identify who they were to love because surely, he didn’t mean everybody. So, Jesus clarified; the least, the enemy, the persecutor, the lost, the found, the person in need, the different, the weak, the sick, the possessed, the seeker, the brother, the sister, the sinner, and everyone else. Paul followed that up in 1 Corinthians 13. He said that if someone could talk in angel languages, move mountains with faith, preach great messages, have all knowledge, and even give everything away but not have love, they are nothing. Nada. Nil. Zero. Zilch. He said, “love never fails,” not tolerance.

Do you love or coexist?

Jesus followers don’t coexist; they love. Love is way better than a sterile coexistence with others. Jesus’ love is radical, sacrificial, head turning, hand reaching, go the distance and barrier breaking. It is the identity of his church.

What the Bible Says About Loving.

The Least – Matthew 25:40

Jesus Telling His Disciples Love – John 13:34

The Command to Pursue Love – 1 Corinthians 14:1

Who to Love – Luke 10:29

Love Your Enemies- Matthew 6:43