Controlled by love

What does it mean for Jesus’s love to control us? The idea of anything controlling us can seem scary. It’s easy to think of how a robot is controlled by its master. Or of how substances can control people and ravage their lives and the lives of those around them. But love controlling us – that’s an amazing idea. What better way to go through life than to be characterized by love?

As we rub shoulders with people, we occasionally come across someone who is characterized by hate. It’s just not fun to be around them. But being controlled by love stands in stark contrast. People do want to be around a loving person. Others easily see the motivations behind how we act. If we aren’t acting out of love, it’s usually pretty transparent.

In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul explores the concept of Christ’s love controlling us. We will look differently than we did before His love controlled us. We may seem crazy to others (verse 13). Or not. It doesn’t matter.

Part of Christ’s love controlling us is that we start to look at people differently (verse 16). Our perspectives become new. We’re like a growing plant that continuously produces new flowers. We look at people through the eyes of Jesus. He wept when he saw pain. He was angry when he saw injustice. He accepted others who society rejected – and then asked them to be willing to change.

Being controlled by Christ is a process. “A new life has begun” (verse 17). Paul didn’t say, “a new life has completely changed every aspect of you and you are not ever like your old self.” Some changes happen very fast and other changes take a long time. Let’s be patient with ourselves and with others while this transformation takes place.

(Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday.)