Radical Lovers

By: Pastor Dennis Yim

Key Passage: 1 John 2:7-11

7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from

the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a

new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the

darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light

and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in

him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and

walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded

his eyes.

There’s much hate to be passed around in our world, but there’s not enough love. I’ve been

listening to an “old” song in the early 2000s by the Black Eyed Peas called “Where’s the Love?”

where the whole song is about how our society is utterly broken – war, gang violence, systemic

racism, poverty, selfishness and greed, the devaluing of humanity, the devaluing of the youth. I

was moved deeply as I listened to this song a few times. Have things gotten better? Or have we

just turned a blind eye to these issues and have made shallow and empty statements like “things

are much better today than they were back then.” In the midst of our broken world, I constantly

wonder what are we (the Church) doing to address these issues. I question our motive for being

“missional” in our community because it seems like we are more concerned about building up

our own church by increasing our numbers instead of addressing the dire needs of our

community. There are many who are suffering from a broken system and from broken marriages,

etc., many who are barely getting through each month, there are many who don’t want the

American Dream, but would rather have the opportunity to be fully human, which is to thrive. I

wonder if the Church actually cares. I wonder when we make shallow and grossly-empty

statements like “We Just need to preach the Gospel” is actually a cop-out for being Christ-like,

which is to be radical lovers – if we’re honest, much of American Christianity is quite lazy.

If we say we love God, then we must love our neighbors indiscriminately. If we say we love

Christ and want to participate in His story of redemption, then we must be radical lovers. What

does it mean to love radically? It means to go above and beyond what our nominal American

church culture has deemed as “good enough” when it comes to participation. Radical lovers are

the ones who enter into their neighbor’s world, they take the time to know them well (both their

joys and demons), and they learn how to present the Gospel by meeting their physical and

spiritual needs. This is what radical lovers do: If you know someone who is depressed you don’t

simply tell them to “Just trust in the Gospel,” but you must also embody the presence of Christ

by being with them physically and comforting them by your mere presence – sometimes words

are not needed. If you know someone who is struggling financially you don’t tell them to simply

“believe in the Gospel” but you also provide for them by offering financial help – this is radical

sacrificial love. If you know someone is being abused by their husband you don’t tell them “just

trust in the Gospel,” you do what is necessary to protect them whether that means bringing in law

enforcement or bringing that person into your house and keeping them safe.

Christ calls us to be His radical lovers; he wants us to both preach the Gospel but also

accompany it with justice (making all things right) – they go hand in hand, you can’t have one

and not the other. Is this going to be difficult? It sure will be. But Christ promises that He will

guide and empower us in the Holy Spirit. It was never His intention to redeem us so that we may

sit on a pew every Sunday and then go back to our nominal lives during the week. No, He

redeemed us so that we may be His radical lovers who will beautify His world by proclaiming

and living out the Gospel that makes all things right in Him. May Christ aid you in being His

radical lover in His broken world.