Neglect is Not Love

by Richard Mansel, managing editor
neglechouse33.jpgThe human mind can perform astounding feats of illogic when faced with the reality of sin. We understand and accept concepts without question in the secular world but claim complete ignorance when these same concepts move into the spiritual realm.
We all know that neglect is not love. In our marriages, if we ignore our spouse or regularly do not come home, they will certainly get the idea that we do not wish to be married to them anymore.
If we have a close friend that regularly avoids us and refuses to correspond with us, we will understand that they do not wish to continue our friendship. If a child regularly disobeys his parents and flaunts their rules, we say that they are a rebellious child and a potential danger to society. We do not claim they are wonderful role models that all should emulate.
Since we do not wish to be uncomfortable spiritually, we pretend and rationalize away anything that disturbs our slumber. However, teachers and preachers must lay bare the truth, so we can all be healthy in Christ (Galatians 4:16).
Spiritually, neglect is no more love than it is in our physical relationships. In fact, it is infinitely more tragic and dangerous with eternal consequences (Luke 13:1-5). If we ignore or neglect Jesus, or stay away from him in worship, prayer or meditation on his word, we cannot say that we are evidencing love for him.
If we stay away from someone, it is clear that we do not wish to be with him or her anymore. When we lose a friend, it creates a vacuum in our lives where they once resided. Someone new will fill that hole.
If we neglect God and someone else fills the hole formerly occupied by Christ in our lives, then we have decided that they are more valuable than Christ.
“Without faith it is impossible to please [God]” (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV). Acceptance of God’s Son is an absolute prerequisite to pleasing God. If we accept Christ, we are saying that Jesus’ words and teachings are true.
If we do not accept Christ, we are saying that God, the Holy Spirit, Christ and Scripture are lying. It is impossible to see how we could do that and be pleasing to God.
When we neglect God, we are sending a clear message that other things are more important than our Savior. Clearly, that is fraught with danger. God said, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). Meaning, we cannot choose or prefer anyone above God. We can do that in many more ways than bowing to an idol.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). God binds love and obedience because they evidence our mindset about the Lord. God is “manifest” in our lives when we love and obey Christ (John 14:21). If we will do this, the Godhead will “make [Their] home” with us (John 14:23).
Why would God dwell with us, if we do not think his Word and Way are greater than anything man has to offer?
No mental calisthenics exist that can justify the neglect of Christ and his Word as constituting true discipleship. Maybe we need to stop pretending and start following (Mathew 16:24; 1 Corinthians 11:1).

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