“This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.” ~Philippians 1:9

The King wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, they brought before him Allan, a man who owed ten million dollars. Since Allan was not able to pay, the Master ordered that he and his wife and his three daughters and all that he owned be sold to repay the debt. Allan fell on his knees before the King. “Be patient with me,” he begged, “and I will pay back everything.” Allan’s Master took pity on him. And he canceled the debt. And set him free.

But when Allan went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him ten bucks. Allan grabbed him and began to choke him. “Pay me what you owe me!” he demanded.

How can Christ’s love for me not be the same love we have for each other?

I always forgive you because Christ always forgives me. I make sacrifices for you because Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice for me. I serve you because Jesus served me. I give in to you, I submit to you, I defer to you, because Jesus went to the cross for me. He died for me while I was his enemy. He buried my sins at the bottom of the ocean floor. He’s removed them from me as far as the East is from the West.

My friend, you don’t owe me anything. You owe me nothing. And I will never, ever demand anything from you. I can’t.

How can Christ’s love for me not be the same love we have for each other?

If it is — when it is — then we’re able to discern what is best for our congregations and for our relationships within our congregations. There’s not a situation or circumstance or problem that can possibly come up that can’t be navigated correctly¬† when everybody abounds in love. When decisions do need to be made and lines do need to be drawn, we always err on the side of love and grace. We err in the way of sacrifice and service. We err in the name of Christian love.