God is love, so love must be God. This must logically be the case if God is infinite, if God is absolute. To say that God is love, but that love is not necessarily God, would make God smaller than love – there would be a part of love that is God, and a part that is not God. God would become a subset of love. Yet, saying God is love does not deny the possibility that God is more than love, but whatever that “more than love” is, it is still bound to that love which is God – because God could not be something that denies what He is. So if God is love, then whatever else we may say about God, it must be filtered through love, or else it is not God, or it is a distorted image of God.
Therefore, when we assert that God is a God of justice, that justice must then be bound by love. In fact, there can be no justice apart from love. Biblical justice is a relationship, and the foundation for that relationship is love. If there is no love, then there can be no balanced relationships, which means there can be no justice. If there is no justice, then there can be no peace. If there is no peace, then there can be no joy. Therefore, joy is impossible without love. Peace is impossible without love. Justice is impossible without love. And love is God.
This also means that God as judge is not a stoic, or mildly hostile, who stands aloof and outside the case over which He presides and renders judgment. God as Judge is a Loving Judge. God cannot be judge in a manner that denies that God is love. So God is not a cold, calculating, legalistic judge because that would deny God as Loving Judge. This also means that God is not outside and aloof, passing judgment from a distance because one cannot love from a safe distance and have it still be love.
Biblical love – the love that is God – is not romantic love or some romantic yearning, it is a self-giving, sacrificial love that acts knowing it can never be repaid for what is done. So I may yearn for someone who may never know that I exist, but that is more of a pining, and less of a love. It is a delusion of love. If I love with the love that is God, I cannot stand outside and pine, I cannot remain aloof, but I will come crashing into that person’s life like Kool Aid crashing through a wall. So God, as Loving Judge, is a God who is within the scenario and circumstance being judged. It is a God who does not sit high and distant on His bench, but who is moving around the courtroom, sitting with the defendant, comforting the victims, whispering to the jury, spending time with the prosecution – it is a judge who refuses to sit still and remain detached, but who becomes intimately involved with everyone in the courtroom.
It is also a judge who is emotionally ripped apart by the fact that there is a trial in the first place. Imagine a court case where a judge’s children were on trial and the judge was forced to preside. Imagine that the judge had four sons, one was on trial for murdering his brother, and the lawyer for the prosecution and the lawyer for the defense were the remaining sons. Imagine still that the jury is composed of family members, and the people watching the trial in the courtroom were extended family. How would all that affect the judge? Can the judge stop loving his one son because he murdered his other son? Can the judge prefer the defense or the prosecution when both are his sons as well? Will the judge be torn by trying to both secure justice for the family of the victim, who is also his family, while not wanting to hurt or unduly punish the son who is the perpetrator of the crime? We would not force a human judge to go through this, but we put this scene on God over and over. I am sure that to the prosecution, God’s judgment will appear too lenient, and to the defense it will appear too harsh. That is the nature of such a no win scenario – that is the nature of love.
So, we who follow Jesus, must measure our judgments by the rule of love. We cannot claim that God is love, and then set out on a course of action that denies that love, or that is void of love. If we do it for God, then we do it for love – and if there is no love in it, then there is no God in it either.
Employing the word “God” in an activity; performing various religious rituals and activities; imposing religious actions like prayer or reading the Bible on other people; none of these require love to be done; and if love is not present in these things, then God is not present. These things are not done “for God”; they are done for the person doing them, who has confused what he wants with who and what God is.
I personally do not see how forcing someone to pray in school is an act of love; and if it is not an act of love, then it is not an act of God. I do not see how forcing someone to pray to my God is an act of love, and if it is not an act of love, it is not an act of God. The idea that God is not in public schools because FORCED prayer has been removed from the curriculum is absurd – first of all, God does not want prayer that is FORCED, God wants prayer that freely flows from the heart and mind of the one who prays. Prayer is an act of love, not an imposition! But more than that, God is present in school because love is still present in school. No one has found a way to take love out of schools yet!
When the Sandy Hook shootings occurred, people tried to blame it on that tired old chestnut of “God was forced out of public schools so you can expect things like this to occur.” And the people who made the assertion somehow believed that through imposing such a hurtful abstraction upon a tragedy of that magnitude, they were serving God. Yet, it was an unloving statement and it served no one but themselves. First of all, the children and teachers were not shot because God was not in that school; they were shot because a man with a gun was. And it appears as if most of the people who made that statement care more about maintaining a world that protects the man with a gun more than protecting children in a school. Second, the teachers who sacrificed themselves to save their students demonstrated love – REAL LOVE – and therefore, since that self-sacrificing love that can never be repaid, the love that is God, was in that school, then God was in that school as well. To say that God was not in school because FORCED prayer was not practiced in that school, dishonors the love and sacrifice of those teachers who placed themselves in harm’s way to save their students; it dishonors and negates the heroic act of love that was present in their actions; and since God is love, it dishonors and negates God. IT IS THOSE WHO DEVALUE AND DIMINISH THE SACRIFICE OF LOVE WHO HAVE FORCED GOD OUT OF THAT PARTICULAR SCHOOL ON THAT PARTICULAR DAY, NOT THE ABSENCE OF FORCED PRAYER.
In spite of that seeming digression, this is not an argument for or against guns, or prayer in schools, or any other POLITICAL or PARTISAN debate. I have no opinions on such matters. Politics is the process of pretending that talking is the same as doing, and since doing is potentially harmful, talking is to be preferred. THIS IS AN ARGUMENT FOR LOVE, AND LOVE, UNLIKE POLITICS, IS NOT A MATTER OF TALKING BUT A MATTER OF DOING. IF THERE IS NO ACTION, THERE IS NO LOVE!
Christians claim that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior. Christ saved us by abandoning Himself to God. Christ showed us how to live and Christ went to the cross for us – it was a self-sacrificing act that can never be repaid; therefore it was an act of love – therefore it was an act of God. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord, we accept what Jesus Christ taught, and everything Jesus Christ taught was built around placing God at the center of our lives. God is love; love is God; therefore, if Jesus Christ is our Lord, then love is at the center of our lives.
Jesus Christ is God’s compassion. Jesus Christ is God’s love in action. The Church is the Body of Christ. Therefore, the Church, like Christ, is to be God’s love in action.