24 Sep 2017

Is it Really a Two Way Street?

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Church, Contemporary Ethics, Culture, Discipleship, Forgiveness, Jesus, Love

Is it really a “two way street?” That is the question asked by a barely 20 year old to me.

I posted part of my conversation with my daughter yesterday on Facebook. Clearly, hers is a message that resonates with many.

But a refrain was repeated several times in the comments. I paraphrase to capture them all slightly different in wording:

respect is a two way street,”

“listening is a two way street,”

“they are just as mean.”

But my kid throws things in our face. “Is it really a two way street? Dad you have always told us, ‘you can only control what you do not what others do.”

It is not the case, for a member of the kingdom of God, that love, respect, dignity, kindness, patience is a two way street. It is a one way street. These values are grounded in the reality of the new creation brought thru the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and flow out of the empowering Presence of the Holy Spirit in our life.

My love for you, my respect for you, my treatment of you with dignity, my patience with you has absolutely nothing, when the chips are down, with how you treat me. This unalterable truth is grounded in Christ Jesus himself and that you are the icon or hologram of God.  From Matthew,

Blessed are the meek” (5.5)

Blessed are the merciful” (5.7)

Blessed are the peacemakers” (5.9)

Blessed are the persecuted” (5.10)

If anyone strikes your cheek” (5.38-42)

Love your enemies .. so that you may be children of God.” (5.43-44)

If you love those who love you, what reward do you have? …”(5.46)

Forgive as you have been forgiven … 490x” (18.21-35)

Father forgiven them …”

It is an ethic alien to the kingdom of God that says “love is a two way street.”

The examples of all the Christian martyrs from Stephen to Polycarp to Perpetua to Martin Luther King Jr prove beyond a shadow of doubt that love, respect, patience, kindness are not, and never have been, a “two way street” for one on The Way.

They are a one way street in fact. They come from God’s new world into the world of unlove, the world devoid of mercy, the world consumed with looking out for number 1 (me), the world devoid of love of God, through those who are the salt, light and leaven of God’s new creation. They come into the present fallen world because God’s children choose to practice their resurrection life in the here and now.

No wonder Jesus boiled it down to a single truth. There is only one criteria of the Christian. The mark of the new creation – love. They will know you are my disciples if you love.

I hate it when my 20 year old shows me that she has been listening for 20 years and confronts me and all of us with an inconvenient truth. Love is a one way street. We are the street that the love of God flows through into the world. We show love whether they like or want it or not.


2 Responses to “Is it Really a Two Way Street?”

  1. Swango Says:

    My favorite verse along these lines is Rom 12:18. “If possible, ON YOUR PART, live at peace with everyone.”

  2. Dwight Says:

    Sometimes sayings and platitudes are general and only apply to certain situations. “There is more than one way to skin a cat” is about there being more than one way to do something, but it doesn’t apply to God as there is only one way to God, through Christ.
    The saying “it is a two way street” is used to denote not necessarily two ways or two opinions, but the ability for giving and taking in respect to someone else who does the same and many things qualify as this even to a Christian.
    Listening and speaking should be a two way street if we are to communicate in any sense of the word.
    Concepts like love, grace, mercy should flow from God through us to others even though we may not get it back and many times don’t. But among Christians, we should have an expectation of love, grace, mercy being given and taken, although not equally at all times. When we read in Acts 2 the people had all things in common as they shared with each other, they gave and took equally. They loved in the same way. In1 John 4 we read, “we love Him because He first loved us”. God gave and we took the love of God, so God deserves love in return.

Leave a Reply