FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 9 (The Generous Mr Lovewell by MercyMe)- How do we love those who make a mistake, and why do we need to love our neighbour?

Remember last week on Flashback Fridays when I spoke about legacy, and how all we as a human race want is to make connections, however big or small, with anyone and everyone we meet? In that blog, where I linked the theme of living life for God to Nichole Nordeman’s brilliant album Woven And Spun, I also alluded to the fact that once we have figured out what kind of legacy we would like to live, we need to figure out the steps- how to go about actively trying to ensure that the legacy we want to leave behind for future generations, is in fact the end product of everything we are doing today in the moment. How do we reconcile the fact that sometimes we can do things that seem so far away from the legacy that we want people to perceive we have successfully lived?

For each one of us, our individual legacies can differ. Say mine could be that I want to leave a legacy of being a brilliant songwriter, an exemplary speaker and a hit recording artist. I may also want to be a loving husband, a devoted father and a dedicated and reliable son. And your desired legacy could be something completely different to mine, that’s the beauty of us being human. The steps we each take to get there can be completely different to. It may take days, months, years, a lifetime, to be where we want to end up, and for me it could be as quick as tomorrow. Guts, determination, a tenacity beyond what we could ever imagine, prayer, support from family and friends, and a strong faith in God can all be attributes to building a successful and fulfilling legacy, but this isn’t really want I want to dwell upon in this post.

Related to legacy though, is the notion and concept of stumbling during our noble plight of attaining an almost perfect and envious legacy. What happens if we fall, and let people down. What happens if our legacy becomes unattainable because of outside circumstances or situations that we foolishly undertake due to our own perceived outcomes that obviously do not occur for whatever reason? We want to be the best worker ever so that we can provide for our family but by spending time at work providing, we unintentionally neglect our family and drive them away- the very thing we are trying to achieve is slowly slipping away. If we make a mistake, and our friends and family are watching, what then? If the shoe is on that other foot, and someone you know is on their way to achieve something special- a fantastic legacy, and then something happens- what do you do? Help them, or shun them or ignore them? Do you, dare I say it, love them even more, as it proves they are human?

If you’re a cricket fan and cricket lover like myself, or even if you’re not, then you already know everything there is to know about the 2018 ball tampering scandal in South Africa that might as well have spelled the end of the careers of three brilliant young cricketers (inclusive of the Australian cricket captain and the vice-captain). You already know about the cheating that took place, the lies, the pressure from social media for the ICC and Cricket Australia to impose harsher or more lenient bans (depending on your points of view), and the media circus that awaited the three players involved as the arrived back home in Australia. You probably have seen the press conferences with the players involved, and you may have made up your mind as to whether these guys are genuinely sorry for their actions or just sorry they were caught. Or you may still be in shock, like myself, as this scandal came out of nowhere, to some of the most unlikeliest guys- and you may still be making and informed opinion about everything.

Now I may agree with some of the penalties that were handed down by the ICC and/or by Cricket Australia, and I may disagree with others. But one thing I would like to point out, that I think we all need to be reminded of, so that we can apply this to each of our own lives; is that as Christians, we wouldn’t want to judge others- we may know part of the full story, but not the full story, so I wouldn’t want to be the one to leap to conclusions. But rather we as Christians should love those who make mistakes, either intentionally or unintentionally, just as Christ first loved us. We all are sinners, we all have fallen short. We all do not deserve love and forgiveness, but Christ has given us freedom, forgiveness and unconditional love anyway. Some of us are grateful for this, and we extend the love of Jesus to others; but other people do not forgive and love that easily. We look at others trying to find ways to tear them down. We look at others to find their faults, not to praise them for their strengths. And we look at others and point the finger, pointing out the dirt on other people’s face without tending to the log in our own eyes first.

The other day we watched a movie at the cinemas, the first movie we have seem in 1 and a half years at the cinemas. In my opinion, this movie is probably so impacting at the moment, and will be in the future, that it almost was like a movie we needed to see. A movie that God wanted us to see. The movie was I Can Only Imagine, based on the life of MercyMe lead singer Bart Millard and how he came to write the crossover hit song “I Can Only Imagine”. I guess it was ironic that we watched the movie at around the exact same time when the ICC were handing down its bans to the players involved in the scandal- as it was the message of the movie that relying on God and having support can help us achieve anything, that probably was needed, especially for the players that were banned. While, yes, they undertook something horrific, and they do have to do the time, I believe that the constant social media hounding is extremely excessive, with all three now being made up to be public enemy number one, as if they murdered someone or something like that. Now I’m not condoning cheating, but now that the dust of this situation has somewhat settled, and the players seemed remorseful (we may never know if they are or not, but we gotta assume that they are sorry!); what these guys need more than ever is support. Forgiveness in time, and love from their friends and family. Unconditional love that passes past all understanding. Not much of the public are willing to give love to those who they deem to be unworthy. And man’s standards always fluctuate, depending on how they feel. But the message of the movie that support can be the difference between the making and breaking of a person is important, and gives me hope that out of this dire situation of the ball tampering scandal, these men can rise from the ashes as better people, if they have confidants and trusted people in their corner to keep them grounded and love them unconditionally.

While the movie spoke about the plight of Bart and how he defied the odds and became a singer despite the lack of support in his life, except for his father later on; what I found to be impacting to me was that obviously MercyMe was something God envisioned long before Bart did. No matter what Bart did, if MercyMe was something that God wanted, then the band would have formed in another way had some events had occurred differently. And that gives me great hope for the future. For everyone actually. And that is the fact that even if your legacy that you are chasing seems to be unattainable, it actually will be attainable if God wants you to attain it. So I guess in whatever you do, know that God is in your corner, even if you have no one else. He is here with us, He knows our pain, He loves us unconditionally, and He knows our hopes and dreams and knows the best for us as well. So when things happen, remember that they happen for a reason. God is working.

There’s an album of MercyMe, called The Generous Mr Lovewell, that speaks heavily on the concept of love and unconditional love, no matter what we have done. As brilliantly put by Bart, “…the entire album deals with three main aspects of love. The theme of the record is to “love well” as Jesus commands us in the greatest commandment. There are songs about inward love such as in our song “Beautiful.” There are songs based on “we love because He first loved us,” which is the basis of this first single, “All of Creation.”…” As this blog is long enough already, I’ll leave you with this. The Generous Mr Lovewell is impacting in my life for this very reason- that it reminds me of the hope we all have, that if we each have family, friends and close mentors in our corner who love us unconditionally no matter what, and we in turn be the person who loves others unconditionally, no matter what they’ve done, the whole world will be a better place and everything will be ok. Loving without judgement is hard, but if you ask God for strength, then I’m sure He will provide it for us. The theme of love and the fact that we all need it, permeates through the whole album, especially in the tracks such as “Beautiful” (reminding us all that we are beautiful in God’s eyes), the title track (a fun, happy-go-lucky melody about a fictitious character showing the love of Jesus to everyone he meets!) and “All Of Creation” (about how we love God because He loved us first). Though there are also many other tracks that may resonate with you more than others, in terms of how the definitions of love are explored and delved into, I am positive that if you all listen to The Generous Mr Lovewell at least once straight through, even if you aren’t a Christian, then I am positive that you will be changed. The love of God will permeate through you, and that will be amazing.

Now I’m not sure what will happen to these three Aussie cricketers as this saga is still unfolding, and these men have to serve out their time away from the game. But I do hope and pray that the love of Jesus impacts the lives of these men, and others, as His name is glorified, and we realise that legacies will happen if God wants for it to happen, if God thinks that it will make us better people and better Christians. While my review of I Can Only Imagine will be posting soon, as will the next Flashback Fridays post about MercyMe’s debut album, I reckon you can chew on this for a bit. Next time you think about condemning someone, think about how you would want others to love you when you are in a tight spot. Then act that way to others. Or at least try to, then ask for God’s help. Next time you come across your neighbour (literal or figurative), think about what they are going through. What do they need? Can you be Mr Lovewell to them?

Which songs hit you the most in terms of love? Is it from MercyMe’s 2010 album or from a mainstream album or something else? Let us know in the comments below!

One thought on “FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 9 (The Generous Mr Lovewell by MercyMe)- How do we love those who make a mistake, and why do we need to love our neighbour?”

  1. I totally agree with you Josh. If only there is forgiveness in the Middle East!
    Jesus also said that if anyone one has never sinned then he should cast the first stone, or words to that effect when people wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery.

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