Thursday, September 01, 2011

HOW LOVE WINS - Thank you Mr. Charles Finney

God desires and purposes that all (1 Ti.2:4, 2 Pe.3:9) should repent, be forgiven, transformed and filled with the knowledge of the truth. This is clearly and certainly what God is working toward. Whether or not individuals respond appropriately is another issue. But, GOD IS WORKING TOWARD THE SALVATION OF ALL. Regarding love we can say that love is to purpose and pursue the highest good identifiable. It is universal good-will, or willing the highest good in general. As difficult as it is for human beings, with their distorted minds, to comprehend, love does everything for one reason or ultimate end; the highest good of being in general. Within this context, however, we must realize that there are expressions of love that we would categorize as “kindness” but there are also expressions which fit under the category of “severity.” Both kindness and “severity” are attributes of love (Ro.11:22). Another word, sometimes, used for “kindness” is “gentleness.” Severity is not cruelty, it is love shown in strictness, rigor and purity. In order to bring a dimension of clarity, I often refer to severity as severe kindness. Love always shows a regard for the well-being of others and will be gentle and kind toward all, except in those cases where either the good of the individual, or of the public, requires a different approach. It is a mistake to suppose that love is all softness under all circumstances. It will be gentle or severe, depending upon which is required to pursue the highest good. It is important to understand that kindness is the rule and severity is the exception but it is just as important to realize that though kindness is the rule, it might not be possible to express it most often in light of outward circumstances such as the character and conduct of the individual(s) with which God (or you) are dealing. If kindness is appropriate and severity is shown, this is not love. In the same way, if severity is require, for the highest well being of the individual and/or the public interest, and kindness is shown, this is not love. Both, however, are equally and necessarily attributes of love. Let me emphasize that the general approach of love is to treat others kindly and gently, unless circumstances and/or the character of the one loved requires a different treatment. When a person or persons conduct themselves so as to endanger the public good, severity is just as natural, and as necessary to love, as kindness and forbearance are under other circumstances. WITH GOD, IT IS LOVE THAT LEADS TO THE APPROACH HE TAKES. However, “It is one of the most shallow of dreams, that the Divine character is all softness and sweetness, in all its manifestations and in all circumstances.” “It is impossible that love to the whole should not manifest severity and indignation to the part which rebels against the interests of the whole.”

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