From Lead Them Home: Bill Henson’s Ministry Journal:
Holy Love originates in the Vine from which pure and undefiled love flows into us (for us) and through us (for others). Tapping into it is referred to biblically as abiding in Christ. When we abide in Him, we live godly lives ourselves and reflect mercy to others – whether they live for God or not.
When we fail to abide in Him, we split love into binary exclusives missing the full character of God.
We twist love into a truth stream that hits others like a hammer – particularly those who fall short of our particular sensitivities about God’s truth. Like the disciples, we turn the Gospel into a sword. We use God to hurt others. We team up with others who do likewise. This is the Pharisee.
Or else we twist love into a mercy stream that transforms God’s grace into a license to live however we wish. We turn away from God’s boundaries in order to grant ourselves leniency with few limits. We use God to get our way. We join with others who do likewise. This is the Sinner.
The worst case scenario occurs when I opportunistically demand a truth stream for others while granting a mercy stream for myself. I harshly condemn others while ignoring God’s demands upon my life. Lest we blame the other, the conservative and liberal both make this mistake.
Holy Love crucifies self-determination destroying our right to live life our way. When we enter it, our flesh begs to be fed. Only then do we discover its’ true corruptible nature. When we previously let our flesh rule, it was impossible to see just how demanding it was. Now, we know! We fall short…
Recognizing how we turned God’s grace into a license to sin, we cry for mercy. Here, God’s grace becomes amazing not because He grants us our way but because we suddenly need a Savior. It can be hard to realize this, because we so often refuse to repent of the people and pleasures we cherish.
Whoever experiences this kind of repentance finds that Holy Love is not easy – it is difficult and costly! We can no longer control God’s will; nor withhold God’s love from others. Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches. Branches never direct the vine, and they never prune one another.