Taking in the extravagant love of Christ changes us. God loves every single person extravagantly, profoundly. But there is something important that happens as we take in that love, as we accept that love. We become transformed by that love, and we become imitators of God and love like God loves.
We become lovers of truth and place priority on holy honesty and sacred trust. The second half of the letter to the Ephesians is describing what church looks like, what a community of people who have taken in the love of Christ looks like. This passage from Ephesians is not so much a commandment as a description of church, a description of a worshiping, faithful community.
Lies hurt. Sometimes we don’t lie outright, but twist the truth to suit our goals. To convince or persuade, we twist the truth. But taking in the love of Christ changes us so that we can never use lies to manipulate or sway opinion. Truth telling becomes part of the ways that we love people. The trust of others becomes so sacred, that we would never lie.
We find ourselves pursuing truth, even as it robs us of the ability to manipulate others or even as it incriminates us. Truth is sacred. Honestly is holy. It’s more important than getting our own way or protecting ourselves from guilt.
Having taken in the extravagant love of God, our church community becomes a place where we are deeply honest with others, trusting others with ourselves. We let others see our faults and shadow side and trust our community to still love us as Christ loves us. The love of Christ leads us to that kind of love, a love that cherishes every person as a unique creation of God, as created in the image and likeness of God.
Taking in the love of Christ, being transformed into people who cherish others above our own pretenses, we become imitators of God. We find ourselves loving others extravagantly, as God does. We delight in each person as a unique creation of God. We delight in our children. We delight in our older people. We delight in newcomers to church. We delight in the pillars of the church who have been here for decades.
We are church together, cherishing truth, imitating God, and loving each other.