The Christmas story is uncomplicated. Jesus is uncomplicated. Our lives, on the other hand, have gotten really complicated. How, then, do we keep God’s love uncomplicated?
Keep Theology in Its Place
If our theology isn’t pointing us to loving God and loving others, we’re focusing on the wrong theology. Jesus’ entire message was about loving God and loving others. Period.
Good theology is not about institutional doctrine, categorizing others, qualifying who is our neighbor, or wondering who is deserving of God’s love. Our theology should never be academic, data or information obsessed, or distracting analysis. Solid theology points us to God and strengthens our relationship with God and Jesus.
Keep Religion in Its Place
Religion should help us deepen our relationship with God. Religious communities, churches, and leaders are supposed to serve, not co-opt, our God-focus. Religion and religious tradition must never be a replacement for the relationship we have with God and Christ.
Keep Politics and Opinion in Their Place
Our love for God and our understanding of biblical principles should inform and inspire us to make wise decisions and choices. The gospel is never intended to be a platform for political ideologies or to be manipulated to fit secular agendas. Political and religious opinions should never hijack the gospel’s message of love and inclusion. Jesus never withhold his love from those who held different political, social, religious, and cultural beliefs. Neither should we.
Keep Money, Career, ad Security in Its Place
Our culture is obsessed with wealth, fame, fortune, and comfort. Jesus, on the other hand, instructs us to help the poor, feed the starving, care for the sick, defend the weak, and love even the stranger. Cultural success holds up working for ourselves, acquiring money, status, and fame, and disregard others for self-security. Following Jesus requires immense dedication and real sacrifices of time, money, and energy. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Keep God’s Love Uncomplicated … and Radical
Jesus was uncomplicated, but he was radical. He broke all social rules by building relationships with criminals, prostitutes, the outcasts, ignored, alienated, and persecuted members of society. He did not care one whit about maintaining appearances or what others thought. Nor was he apathetic. He radically loved others.
Jesus gives us an uncomplicated example of how to love others: everyone is created and loved by God. There is no “them” or “those people.” Everyone is an individual created and loved by God. Uncomplicated. Now, more than ever.