"So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." Luke 15:20
The other day I got a new insight on what it means to be lost. Being lost means being unable to receive God's love.
God's love is a constant. God can't love you more than He already loves you. He cannot do anything more than He has already done to show His love. But love is a gift and as a gift must be received.
God IS love. In order to receive His love we must receive Him. You can't have love and not have God. But you can't have God when you are living sinfully. And when you can't have God - you are lost.
That is all the more reason why those who do know the love of God, should feel compelled to help their friends find the love of God, too. How can you know the love of God and not want people you love to also come to know His love?
In Luke 15, there are at least three examples of people who are lost because they weren't able to receive the love of God.
The religious leaders were unable to receive the love of God. They had trapped themselves in a joyless routine of religious rules and rituals. Somehow they had managed to create a religious system where love wasn't even required. They were lost in their own self-righteousness.
How were they lost? They were lost in the pride trap. As long as they kept their rules and maintained their rituals and lived by their laws, what's love got to do with it?
Love is hard and demanding. I have to love back. That's risky!
Pride is easy and rules are predictable. Plus, we make the rules! So, if they get too hard to keep we can just change them! And, if I honor all the laws and commands and do all the rituals God will have to love me!
Pride trumps love everytime - and is proud of it!
God couldn't reach them with His love. Jesus couldn't put a dent in them.
Are there still lost people like that today? Uh, uh.
Where do I find someone like that?
Maybe in the mirror? Are there any hints of self-righteousness? Any private sin you are harboring? Any questionable behavior you're excusing? Any impure thinking that you are allowing? Any unhealthy attitude you are tolerating?
Take a hard look.