I’m a minister not because I’m called to manage a holy huddle where people with perceived prestige are elevated to be saboteurs or even gatekeepers of the Gospel. I’m a minister because I’m called to preach, teach, and live the goodness, truth, and power of the Gospel with the church of Jesus Christ. Put another way, I’m called to live a life promoting the goodness of love, the truth of love, and the power of love with and within the world around me.
I know what’s possible in an environment where people become their own gods and use their power to oppress, destroy, harm or manipulate those around them—look at Donald Trump! I also know what’s possible when people believe in God and use their lives to share the goodness, truth, and power of God with those around them. We have the likes of Gandhi and Mother Teresa to offer as examples of what is required of us if we truly decide to follow a Being that is supreme to our ego and beyond the achievement of the status quo.
I spent the second part of my childhood living with my grandmother who was a very spiritual and compassionate woman. When she inherited me, I was an abused, broken child who endured tremendous suffering at the hands of my mother and my youngest sister’s father. The nights of endless violence and torture I experienced is the direct result of evil, and for the first year of living with my grandmother, she held me in her arms and rocked me to sleep at night to break the shackles of that evil by saturating me with love.
Sometimes my grandmother prayed, sometimes she’d quote scriptures, and sometimes she’d speak power and wisdom, “There is good and evil within and around all of us, and some of us are sophisticated enough to recognize our power. You must always choose good. You must always choose love because God is love. Hate will kill you…it will eat you alive…but love will set you free.”
I don’t have to believe in God–especially having seen what I’ve seen. I could write off the concept of a Supreme Being and be justifiably angry at the notion that there was “something” out there that didn’t prevent my sisters and me from being harmed. But I choose to believe in God because of having been so well acquainted with evil.
In physics, Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Everything has an opposite. The presence of evil is proof that there is good. With that being said, I don’t believe that God is a force that only causes good things to happen while there is someone or something with equal power that causes bad things to happen. While I affirm and can attest to the reality of evil, I don’t believe in Satan. I do believe, however, that God is the force of all things and that we as humans have the ability to choose whether we perpetuate good or bad behavior.
My mother and my sister’s father perpetuated evil—and not because some power called Satan made them do it. They chose to do it. Likewise, God isn’t making me devote my life to perpetuating goodness, I am choosing to do it.
1 John 4:8 describes God as love. Where there is love, there is God. Where there is the absence of love, there is the absence of God. God exists whether we believe or not, and I’ve learned that God is most powerful when we believe.
As my grandmother prayed life back into my soul, I experienced love. I experienced God. My spirit was shattered open on the altar of God’s loving Spirit and all my battered pieces fell away. Love’s power entered me and became one with my soul–reconstructing my entire being from the inside out and filling me to the point of overflowing. The Spirit of God made me whole, and where there was once pain and darkness, light and peace now reside.
We all have the power to choose. I choose to live a life of love. With every difficult and challenging situation I might face, I know that nothing can overcome me because I know and have love. Nothing can break what’s already been broken. It is the highest honor to use everything that I have at my disposal–including and most especially my life, for good because the only thing any of us can control is how we choose.
I choose God and I am making myself available for all that is love to flow through me and everything I yearn to produce with my life. Joshua 24:15 says, “Choose who you will serve.” As for me and my life, I will serve God. I will serve love.