Category Archives: Zoe Love

The Man in the Voting Line [I wanna know what love is pt. 3]

My wife was skeptical from the first minute since the man was not wearing a mask.  I checked the crowd to see who was missing a mask.  No one was.  Then I decided to ask if this guy had a mask to wear.  I sincerely wanted to convey good will as a first impression to the mysterious stranger.   He pulled out a mask saying he didn’t want to wear the mask while we were outside, but would when we entered the building.

He talked about how things are so bad now and how people are missing the point.  Okay, this anonymous guy seems to want to go on and on, but my wife and I are both observant enough to know that this conversation won’t be comfortable or polite.  I’m ready to clam up and ride it out as the line is moving pretty well and he’s stopped making comments.

All of a sudden, he has tuned his phone to a recorded sermon from some preacher but the sermon was not based on the gospel.  The preacher was talking about the great accomplishments of President 45.  I have nothing against preachers but this was too much and after about 15 minutes, I had heard enough.

We were about to enter the building and I asked “could you turn that off please?”

“Oh this is the best, I need it every day.  It’s the word of God!”

I exhaled. “I am a man of the Word also and this is what I read today:  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not love, I am become as sounding brass . . . ” [1 Cor. 13:1 NKJV].    “Sir, the Love of God is stronger than the divisions between us.”

“Yeah, but the liberals are killing babies . . . ”

“Yeah, but Black people are being killed in the streets” I replied.

“Love is the greatest force in the universe; Love conquers all.  We need love to stop all the petty squabbles so that we can evangelize the world”

His eyes darted as he opened his mind to possibilities.  “We could do a lot more if  we stopped pointing fingers at each other” he said.

He was quiet for the remaining time we were in the queue.  I never asked his name.  I did wonder if he thought his efforts were enough to change my mind.  I’m sure he voted his heart, but fervently hope he caught a glimpse of the world from my shoes.

Rock of Offense

 Luke’s Gospel the 4th chapter illustrates offense in a very clear way as Jesus knew that the people of Nazareth bore some contempt that he would be bold enough and think highly enough of himself to make claims to some title or assume some kind of nobility due to the success he had in Capernaum. He quoted Isaiah and stated that he was the fulfillment of prophesy and that his personal calling was written by the great prophet many centuries before.
 The crowd responded by asking don’t we know this guy? Isn’t this Joseph’s son? They made themselves familiar to him thereby disavowing his claims but more importantly discounting the possibility that he could have been God-sent. This is an issue for modern Christians as we face the possibility of missing the blessings God intends for us by discounting those around us. Have you ever heard “This preacher is straight from the street, he used to date my cousin. I can’t believe a word he says . . . “ Anyone who would use this descriptive has been offended i.e. has created a way to stumble [and/or fall] because of an assumption created by virtue of their own thinking and reason.
 I Corinthians 13:7 states that love the love of God (Zoe love)  “believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things” which means that we believe the best in people, hope the best for them and deny that part of us that wants to belittle or negate what God can do in and through people.  Humans look for the worst in people and negate their positive aspirations.   Christ inspires us to hope for what people can be and expect that they can do more and better their service to God.
 This is a hard saying. So much so that when Jesus declared it to the people of Nazareth, they tried to throw him off a cliff.  Jesus understood the fervor that comes from this kind of offense, he admonished the disciples to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16-18  This admonition needs to be kept even as we walk with Him.  We will sometimes be exploited or abused by those around us and when we experience this, we need to be aware that it’s happening, but not necessarily recompense those who want to exploit us.  One of the most common tricks played on baby christians is for their leftover unsaved friends to say, “you’re no different from me . . . ”   Unfortunately, they take the role of our enemy to accuse us and to confirm our sense of guilt despite knowledge that Jesus has paid for our sins and forgiven us. They are offended with us and it is easier for them to keep things as they are than to walk through the struggle of church and personal growth.  We have to keep praying for them and for the Lord to keep us away from being offended. 
Watch for Rock of Offense Part 2!
For an exhaustive definition, review this link to

Vine, W. E. “Offence”, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Blue Letter Bible. 1940. 24 June, 1996 11 Apr 2012.