How to Have Conversations about the Definition of Love | Ravi Zacharias and Francis Chan


– This question says, “The Gospel of John says we will be known by
our love, yet our culture has redefined love to be
something we can’t tolerate. How do we discuss the
definition of love with love?” – That may be the challenge
of the hour for us because we have, you know, our persecution here
is of a different kind. It’s not so much so often where our homes may be surrounded by physical threat, but there’s a lot of emotional pressure put on our children and on our families and on our values. The way culture is weighing
in on almost every issue seems to be contra-Christian faith, anything but the Christian faith. But I think this lends
itself to the expression of love and grace. As you well know, Vince, and
the rest of my colleagues, and of course, Francis does
this so much in his preaching and in his pastoral work and in his books, we have no option. The option is really either to communicate the gospel effectively or
lose the impact of the gospel. The option for us should just be one. And you and I well know, so
often questions are asked in a very intimidating way
or a counter-world view way. And the temptation is
to fly off the handle and to fight back and to
resist, and we have to very– I tell my colleagues, “We’re
not answering a question, “we’re answering a questioner.” And we remind ourselves
that when you’re answering a person, you literally and figuratively are putting their arms,
or your arms around them. You have to draw them close. You have to make them feel
you really care about them, that this is not just a
mechanistic response you’re giving, but your interest is
that in their hearing, they hear how much you
really care about them. Once upon a time, the questions
were rather theoretical. You could get away with
theoretical answers, but a lot of questions
today have very many practical implications. They are much more existentially driven and experientially dense, so our challenge is to make them realize
that while our worldview may be different, the
imperative of our worldview is to love those who
oppose, and love those who stand against us. So love has to extend itself. And the way you answer and
love has to extend itself in the availability
you have for the person to a continued dialog on the same issue so that you can demonstrate that love over a period of patience
and over a period of time. That’s the way I would see it. – You know, when I look at
what is written in John, you know, Jesus says, “A new
commandment I give to you “that you love one another
just as I have loved you “you also are to love one another. “By this all people will know
that you are my disciples “if you have love for one another.” And so at the love in
that passage, anyway, is talking about this. It’s true that the people in the world, if I confront any type
of sin in their life, they would see that as unloving. There’s nothing we can do about that. That’s just the way they
have redefined love. But what we can control is in the church, that we are honest with
one-another, but he says the way that they’re gonna
know that you’re my disciples is this, and this is
where we’re losing it. You know, you talk about
the other countries that are dividing in their
different denominations and believers at each others’ throats, which I’ve seen, also,
but gosh are we known for our love for one another. And what are we doing right now to pursue this oneness that Christ wants of us? I said this at the luncheon earlier, “Man, I love this man.” The first time we met,
I don’t even remember when it was, but I
remember, maybe it wasn’t the very first time, but
I remember just one time because, okay, I’m not an apologist. Most of you guys know that. I’m just (chuckling)–
(audience laughing) I’ve tried, you know, it’s
like my mind goes so far and– (pausing)
(audience chuckling) And so I need brothers like this so badly. You know, it used to be back
in the 90s when a pastor felt like he just had to be everything. “I gotta know more than
everyone else,” but now, it’s just like, okay,
I just can’t do it all. I’m not gonna be the best Bible teacher or the best scholar
and the best counselor, and the best leader,
and the best apologist, so I need this, but a lot of times when I encounter someone who is a scholar, I get intimidated. I think a lot of us do. We just feel stupid, right? And usually, they’ll
tell us why we are stupid you know? (chuckling)
(audience chuckling) And, “Oh, yeah, yeah, I knew it. “I knew it, and you just proved it to me. “I already knew that. “Tell me something I don’t know.” (audience laughing)
And so– But I remember, you know,
one of the times, Ravi, you know, it might have
been our first time meeting and we were both gonna speak at an event and he just comes up
to me and just hugs me, and tells me how much he loves me, and thanks God and then
you just start praying, “God, it is such an
honor to share the stage “with this man. “Francis, I’m so honored
to be on the same–” And do you know what
that does for a person who’s already feeling
insecure and everything else, and then him saying, “No,
I’m honored to be with you, “your contribution to the body of Christ,” like a father, like love? It was so foreign to me
to be loved by a scholar. Seriously. And valued by one. Now the fact that that feels so foreign is an indictment of where we’re at. And I get it and I wanna
be the first to apologize. I can get so fired up about my thing that it may seem like I’m mad at you. I’m not, okay? I just get fired up about stuff and I get bothered when I know how much people are suffering around the world. And I think about people
who’ve never heard the gospel, and sometimes, in my zeal
for something, I forget that my number one call
is to love you deeply, like for this oneness. And the Bible’s saying when
that happens in the church that’s when the world’s
gonna know that we’re his disciples and that’s
what we need to fight for. (audience clapping)

Leave a Reply