“Act like you love each other!”
I find myself saying that to our daughters anytime I witness them bickering or acting selfishly or speaking to one another in tones that are less than lovely. “Act like you love each other!” I think I may have picked that up from my own parents somewhere along the line.
Treat her with respect. Act kindly toward him. Think of his needs. Consider her feelings. Do something nice. Compliment him. Help her.
Act like you love each other.
Why does our God tell us the exact same thing? Will acting like we love each other actually cause us to, over time, really like each other? How does that work?
Christian love is not an emotion, it’s a matter of the will. It has nothing to do with feelings; it has everything to do with attitude. It’s not a sentiment or a sensation; it’s mindset, a worldview.
In his book, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis says, “Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did.” Lewis claims that behaving as if we liked each other, even if we don’t, is really one of the great secrets of the universe. “When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.”
By trying to treat everyone kindly, whether we like them or not, Lewis writes that a Christian will find himself liking more and more as he goes along, including people he could never have imagined liking at the beginning.
Same thing with loving God. You don’t have to read the judges or the prophets very carefully before you realize they obeyed God, they did what would please God, even in times when they didn’t necessarily feel very close to God. Even when they disagreed with God, even when they felt God was being unfair, God’s people behaved as if they loved God. They obeyed God even when they weren’t sure they even liked God.
“Nobody can always have devout feelings, and even if we could, feelings are not what God principally cares about. Christian Love, either towards God or towards man, is an affair of the will. If we are trying to do his will we are obeying the commandment, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.’ He will give us feelings of love if he pleases.
The great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, his love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and, therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to him.”
Yes, I know. Reading Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address is tough sledding. It’s not easy. It’s a little more difficult than reading the King James Version. But I encourage you to plod through it. The payoff is huge. Read it, knowing that the fires for restoring the biblical unity to Christ’s Church that burned within them is the same passion that birthed our stream of the Christian faith. It’s our heritage. Let it excite you. Let it make you proud to be a part of such a noble and Godly cause, even if we have, in many respects, lost our way.
For those of you needing some help, here’s a link to a modern rendering — a translation? — of the 13 Propositions of the Declaration and Address. Doug Foster, professor of church history and the director for the Center of Restoration Studies at ACU wrote them. I think it captures the heart of the ideas pretty well. Check it out by clicking here.
There are 26 days left until the Cowboys kick off their 2009 NFL season down in Tampa Bay against the Bucs. And our Red Ribbon Review counts down the days with a look at the second-bests, the also-rans, the runners-up. These are the second-best players in Cowboys history according to jersey number. And today’s #26 is the very first ever “third-down back,” Preston Pearson.
Pearson spent the last six years of his 14-year NFL career in Dallas where Tom Landry had devised a scheme specifically for him. On obvious passing downs — third down and second-and-long — Pearson lined up mostly as a running back with Roger Staubach in the Shotgun formation. Pearson could then stay in and block blitzers, allowing Staubach time to find a deep receiver, or release out into the flat or find a spot in the middle under the coverage and take the pass himself. His success as a clutch receiver also served to open up the draw play for Pearson. He made his living and his name and solidified his legacy as the Cowboys’ third-down specialist.
Pearson never played football in college. He was a basketball player at Illinois when the Colts took a chance on him in the 12th round of the 1967 draft and turned him into a running back. Three years in Baltimore, five years in Pittsburgh, and six in Dallas proved to be perfect timing for Pearson. He was charmed, for sure. Pearson is the only player in NFL history to have played in Super Bowls with the Colts, Steelers, and Cowboys; to have played for Hall of Fame coaches Don Shula, Chuck Noll, and Tom Landry; to have been quarterbacked by Hall of Famers Johnny Unitas, Terry Bradshaw, and Roger Staubach; and to have lined up beside Hall of Fame running backs Lenny Moore, Franco Harris, and Tony Dorsett. Incredible.
His six years in Dallas produced 1,207 yards rushing, 2,274 yards receiving, and 16 touchdowns — almost all of it on third downs. The best year of his career was his first as a Cowboy when he racked up 509 yards rushing, 351 yards receiving, and another 391 yards on kickoff returns. That was the Dirty Dozen year when Pearson, in two playoff games, ran for over 200 yards and three scores and helped lead the Cowboys to Super Bowl X.
He was never a regular starter. But Preston Pearson is the second-best Cowboy to ever wear #26.