How Society Has Diluted the Radical Concepts of Love, Mercy, & Peace

Hi, friends. Most of us live in a high-tech, dog-eat-dog world. To be fair, humans have always been selfish and greedy, but perhaps the problem seems worse now because the possibilities of wealth have increased so much. After all, a poor person in America possesses many luxuries that ancient kings didn’t.

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As the possibilities for societal corruption seem to increase, the radical messages of Christianity have been diluted, and the religion blends into the fabric of American life. Some regard Christians as “quaint and old-fashioned;” some regard us as “hopelessly stupid.” Not many regard us as radical agents of positive change because, in many cases, we have failed to keep the radical commands of Jesus Christ.

We have obscured the Gospel and, in many ways, forsaken true discipleship. We have determined to serve two masters at once–God and wealth. Hence, the three concepts mentioned in the title have been reduced to pitiful shadows of themselves in popular usage and interpretation.

In our society, love is a warm, fuzzy feeling reserved for the people we care about the most.

In our society, mercy (forgiveness) is being a pushover.

In our society, peace is idealistic and silly.

We took serious, difficult commands and converted them to cliches. Jesus told us to take up our cross, and we responded by reducing the size of that cross until it fit in our pockets and justified all our worldly actions and beliefs.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23, NIV)

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In the Gospel, love is a verb. Love is doing the thankless job. Love is overlooking the habit of your spouse or relative or coworker that drives you nuts. Love is extending kindness to people we don’t know or don’t like. Love means getting our hands dirty figuratively and literally. Love is hard work.

In the Gospel, mercy is a give-and-take; if we want to be forgiven by God, we must forgive others. Mercy requires the strength and humility to let go of grudges because we see our own imperfections. Mercy is hard work.

In the Gospel, peace is speaking truth to power–not “our truth” but the truth that shines penetrating light into dark corners. Peace requires loosening our grip on our opinions and prejudices to sort out justice; peacemakers call out all kinds of dishonesty and oppression–regardless of social identities and political stances. Peace is hard work.

The followers of Jesus have been called to show love and mercy and also be peacemakers. Will we acknowledge the gravity of these commands, or will we continue to blend our worldly beliefs with our religious beliefs, minimizing our true calling? Woe to us if we do.

Considering the state of “real life,” real love, real mercy, and real peace are desperately needed.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3, NIV)

Thanks for reading!

53 comments

  1. A lot has to do with the error rampant in US “Christian” churched that faith alone saves. Sorry, the reality given by the example of Jesus’ public ministry is that works are necessary in order to truly live out the faith. Giving lip service is not enough, but for many it is a gag for their conscience.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree with you, Larry, that lip service doesn’t cut it. I don’t think that works will save–we must have faith and pursue a relationship with God through Christ–but it only makes sense that good works would flow from a person who is guided by the Holy Spirit.

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  2. Reblogged this on Daystar Athi Christian Fellowship (DCF-Athi) and commented:
    We took serious, difficult commands and converted them to cliches. Jesus told us to take up our cross, and we responded by reducing the size of that cross until it fit in our pockets and justified all our worldly actions and beliefs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A well written call to come out from the world and be the child of God He has born us to be. I especially liked, the following: “Jesus told us to take up our cross, and we responded by reducing the size of that cross until it fit in our pockets and justified all our worldly actions and beliefs.” Here you hit the proverbial nail on its head. Thank you for sharing truth that changes lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love is so warped from what Jesus and the early church understood. Of course their words for love were varied both in application and degree. We really only vary the one word in degree. I love pizza and I love my parents. Hopefully I don’t love pizza the same or more than parents. I have lamented for the last decade and a half about people saying they love their significant other only to break up and hate them months later. Either they really never did truly love them or the love was only one-sided or dependent on being loved back. I hesitated to say I loved my ex for months because love has been so misused. Now I understand that while we loved each other, it was emotionally only. The action of love was not fully developed to keep us together. Btw love your thoughts on the idea of love. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, Ryan, that love is such a warped term nowadays. People apply it to their fickle feelings of delight, and though love can definitely resemble that warm, fuzzy feeling we have towards someone, real love (Biblical love) is not some fleeting, happy emotion–it’s an intentional effort to be patient, gentle, and understanding despite the circumstances or our changing moods. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post again! It reminds me also of the scripture that’s been on my mind and I used in my message yesterday.Matthew 7:13 – 14. Jesus said the road to heaven was difficult and few there be that find it. But wide and big easy was the gate that led to destruction many will go that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow what a well written piece. I could never understood how a society could call themselves Christians yet so we are obsessive about money, greed and stepping over anyone to get it ( pretty much goes against all of Jesus’s teachings). We worpship money in this country; not God. I would like to practice more love and mercy in my life; it isn’t easy. It isn’t easy to love people who hurt you. But I have found when I love others ( as Christ calls) I find myself a happier person overall and in turn able to love myself. Thank for the post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! It’s tragic that many Christians serve God and money. Yes, we have to work and pay bills and what not to survive, but that doesn’t justify our idolatry of all our luxuries while we forsake His commands about love, mercy, and peace! Your saying that love is hard must mean you are on the right track–anyone who thinks love is supposed to be easy hasn’t gotten the point yet! You’re right that love makes us better people in the end, and it’s also written: a person who cannot love others does not know the Father’s love!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So insightful and well spoken. You are helping remove the cliche’ from what a Christian life truly looks like and taking it back from the brain and returning it to the heart that should be inhabited by Jesus! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Not many regard us as radical agents of positive change because, in many cases, we have failed to keep the radical commands of Jesus Christ.” Amen! This is a truly great and relevant post. Great reminders, thanks for sharing this with us. God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

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