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In Donald Miller’s book “Blue Like Jazz,” he has a chapter called “Love: How to Really Love Other People”


He was at a lecture by Greg Spencer that talked about the metaphors that we use around (amongst other things) relationships. We talk about how we value people, invest in people, how we say people are priceless, or that a relationship is bankrupt. All these metaphors are economic ones.


“And that’s when it hit me like so much epiphany getting dislodged from my arteries. The problem with Christian culture is we think of love as a commodity. We use it like money. Professor Spencer was right, and not only was he right, I felt as though he had cured me, as though he had let me out of my cage. I could see it very clearly. If somebody is doing something for us, offering us something, be it gifts, time, popularity, or what have you, we feel they have value, we feel they are worth something to us, and perhaps, we feel they are priceless. I could see it so clearly, and I could feel it in the pages of my life. This was the thing that had smelled so rotten all these years. I used love like money. The church used love like money. With love, we withheld affirmation from the people who did not agree with us, but we lavishly financed the ones who did.”


…“There was a guy in my life at the time, a guy I went to church with whom I honestly didn’t like. I thought he was sarcastic and lazy and manipulative, and he ate with his mouth open so that food almost fell from his chin when he talked. He began and ended every sentence with the word dude.

…He began to get under my skin. I wanted him to change. I wanted him to read a book, memorize a poem, or explore morality, at least as an intellectual concept.

I didn’t know how to communicate to him that he needed to change, so I displayed it on my face. I rolled my eyes. I gave him dirty looks. I would mouth the word loser when he wasn’t looking. I thought somehow he would sense my disapproval and change his life in order to gain my favor. I short, I withheld love.

After Greg Spencer’s lecture, I knew what I was doing was wrong. It was selfish, and what’s more, it would never work. By withholding love from my friend, he became defensive, he didn’t like me, he thought I was judgmental, snobbish, proud, and mean. Rather than being drawn to me, wanting to change, he was repulsed. I was guilty of using love like money, withholding it to get somebody to be who I wanted them to be. I was making a mess of everything. And I was disobeying God.”


If Jesus, our master was known as a friend of tax collectors and sinners, we must ask ourselves, as apprentices, how often do I befriend the outcast? Or, am I part of the group that has cast them out? Do I eat and drink with sinners?

We are the light of the world! How many dark places, dark hearts, have you brought light into?

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