Bold Love

Back in 1997 when I was still living and working in Miami, Florida, I bought a book titled, Bold Love,” by Dr. Dan B. Allender and Dr. Tremper Longman III. Dr. Allender is a prominent Christian therapist, author, professor, and speaker focusing on sexual abuse and trauma recovery, as well as marriage and family, and Christian Sabbath; and he is also one of the founders and former President of The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology (quote source here). Dr. Longman is an Old Testament scholar, theologian, professor and author of several books, including 2009 ECPA Christian Book Award winner Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings (quote source here).

Originally published in 1992, Bold Love,” is a book about genuine love, and what it means. A brief description of the book on Amazon.com states the following:

We’ve come to view love as being “nice,” yet the kind of love modeled by Jesus Christ has nothing to do with manners or unconditional acceptance. Rather, it is disruptive, courageous, and socially unacceptable.

In “Bold Love,” Dr. Dan Allender and Dr. Tremper Longman III draw out the aggressive, unrelenting, passionate power of genuine love. Far from helping you “get along” with others, “Bold Love” introduces the outlandish possibility of making a significant, life-changing impact on family, friends, coworkers–even your enemies.

Learn more about forgiveness, maturity, and seeing others through Jesus’ eyes. (Quote source here.)

In one review of the book on Amazon.com written and published on January 29, 2019, Hillary Farris, Ph.D. states the following:

It’s about time I reviewed this book; I’ve depended upon it ever since it was first published in 1992. I’m on my third or fourth copy because I’ve given away each in turn, over the years. I just recommended it again today. My problem in trying to review it is to single out why I keep buying it to re-read and how it could help you and people you know that you care about even though they have caused harm to you in the past. You may say – “Wait I’m not sure I still care about such people – I’ve shut them out of my life – it’s how I survive.” I would still offer this book to you to take up and read and ponder what it offers – especially if on occasion you must interact with those who have hurt you in the past. If you are already relying on your identity in Christ and the freedom you have found, then this book could empower you to seek that same reconciliation and restorative grace for others in your life who need it too. It may be that you are like me – I was to be a kind of New Testament “Abraham” for my family – stepping out in unfamiliar territory and pursuing them for Christ with God’s leading and the godly wisdom is this book. It happened – a miracle of bold love. (Quote source here.)

Back in 1997 when I purchased that book, I ended up giving it to a friend I had briefly gotten to know who took ill suddenly and found himself in the hospital. He was a young Hispanic guy in his early 30’s, and he was really scared as he was afraid he had AIDS. He struggled with his lifestyle and for the most part the church I met him at was not overly responsive to him due to that fact. I don’t remember all of the details now as it’s been almost 22 years ago, but when I went to visit him in the hospital, I discovered that hardly anyone had been there to visit him, and I was the only one from church congregation who came to see him at the time I was there.

I didn’t know him well enough to know if he liked to read, but I had purchased “Bold Love” recently and I really liked the book. I decided to give it to him as I thought it might help him get his mind off of his health situation if only for a little while, but I was distressed to find out that hardly anyone was visiting him once I got there. I ended up sitting with him for as long as I could before hospital staff needed to do something and I had to leave. We talked for a while and I ached for him in his intense loneliness (and he was very sick) and in his circumstances regarding his AIDS diagnosis.

I remember hearing someone make a comment about him at church who stated that it was his “lifestyle choice” that landed him in the hospital, and it was said rather coldly. Sometimes I am stunned by how unfeeling we can be to each other in church settings, and I felt that way when I heard this woman who said that about him. When I went back again to visit him, he had been released from hospital but because I wasn’t family they would not tell me where he ended up. I never did find out what happened to him.

I was haunted by the thought of where was the outpouring of genuine Christian love for this guy when he so desperately needed it? His view of the church at that point was very dim, and unfortunately, understandably so. It is a side to the church that I have never fully understood, but then the church is made up of all kinds of people from all walks of life. However, it is that very fact that should draw those like this young Hispanic guy into a fellowship of genuine love and acceptance especially at his very acute time of need. Instead, he was met with scorn. He struggled, but who took the time to understand? He might even have been dying at that time (I don’t know), and who cared?

I can’t help but believe that if Jesus was walking on this earth today, He would have been in that hospital room. If we as the church are Jesus’ representatives to the world today, why don’t we care more about others outside of our Christian circles? I realize that is a general statement as each individual is different in how they respond to various situations that come up in life, but where is our compassion? Where is our love? It’s not supposed to be hidden inside church walls. It’s meant to be expressed with the world-at-large, even a young Hispanic guy dying from AIDS in a hospital room.

Let’s take that closer to home–where is our compassion in our everyday world–what about the people we encounter shopping in Walmart or Aldi or even Goodwill? How about at McDonald’s or Burger King or Wendy’s? And how about every place we go? And where is our compassion when someone is trying to take our job away from us (that’s been a tough one for me personally)? And how do we handle the abuse by others who just don’t care (too often it comes from within the church but there is plenty of it in the world, too)?

I don’t say that to make anyone feel guilty or angry. We all tend to be way too judgmental about others we don’t know (and that goes beyond Christians, too, to the general population). Is a young guy dying of AIDS important to Jesus? Of course he is. So why do we look the other way or make statements about his lifestyle choice as being a reason to shun him when he is sick and dying? God have mercy on us for even thinking that is okay.

We need a whole lot more bold love in this world. Not “nice” love; not “getting along” love, not “fake” love. We need real love, bold love, and there’s not very much of it out there anymore. Nobody is perfect, but we should at least try more then we do.

Getting back to the book, “Bold Love,” I found a website with some notes on the book that shows in brief statements from pages in the book what it is about. Here are those notes taken from LeadWithYourLife.com. The page numbers from the paperback edition of the book are listed after each note:

Book Summary:

We’ve come to view love as being “nice,” yet the kind of love modeled by Jesus Christ has nothing to do with manners or unconditional acceptance. Rather, it is disruptive, courageous, and socially unacceptable.

In Bold Love, Dr. Dan Allender and Dr. Tremper Longman III draw out the aggressive, unrelenting, passionate power of genuine love. Far from helping you “get along” with others, Bold Love introduces the outlandish possibility of making a significant, life-changing impact on family, friends, coworkers—even your enemies.

Book Notes:

God’s consuming preoccupation is to destroy evil through the power of sheer goodness made known through His perfectly righteous love. (11)

We are to be armed for battle with a higher purpose than present enjoyment, a determined confidence that God is good no matter what happens, and the passion of a love bold enough to take on the real enemy. (11)

We must discover God’s power to care about others when our heart is breaking; we must find God’s love to reach out to lost people even though our pain continues. We must learn to live well in a community of people who are sometimes wonderful, too often unspeakably evil, and usually somewhere in between. (12)

I do not believe forgiveness involves forgetting the past and ignoring the damage of past or present harm. (16)

Bold love is courageously setting aside our personal agenda to move humbly into the world of others with their well-being in view, willing to risk further pain in our souls, in order to be an aroma of life to some and an aroma of death to others. (19)

Love is not possible, at least for long, without the healing work of forgiveness. (28)

Forgiving love is the inconceivable, unexplainable pursuit of the offender by the offended for the sake of restored relationship with God, self, and others. (29)

I will not live with purpose and joy unless I love; I will not be able to love unless I forgive; and I will not forgive unless my hatred is continually melted by the searing truth and grace of the gospel. True biblical forgiveness is a glorious gift for both the offender and the offended. (30)

Love is unquestionably the highest calling a person can pursue. (30)

It is wonderfully simple and grand—all of life’s requirements summarized by the admonition to love God and your neighbor. (31)

Love is a sacrifice for the undeserving that opens the door to restoration of relationship with the Father, with others, and with ourselves. (32)

Love is the measure by which my life will be assessed. (32)

Most people presume the desire to love is a natural human sentiment, but love is actually the exception, the extraordinary, and the life-altering surprise. (34)

The essence of Christianity is God’s tenacious loyalty to redeem His people from the just penalty for sin. (37)

Given the reality of sin, love and forgiveness are inextricably bound together. (42)

The extent to which someone truly loves will be positively correlated to the degree the person is stunned and silenced by the wonder that his huge debt has been canceled. Perhaps another way to say it is that gratitude for forgiveness is the foundation for other-centered love. (43)

Self-protection is the self-centered commitment to act without courage, compassion, boldness, and tenderness for the sake of the other. (58)

It is not life’s or God’s seeming unfairness that is so difficult to bear (though it is painful), it is the unbearable fact that in light of the radical injustice, God calls us to love, to turn the cheek, to offer our coats, and to carry the burden of our abusers one more mile. (61)

If one brings to bear the reality of what our sin deserves—separation from life and love—Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross becomes the mystical intersection of two powerful, turbulent rivers—wrath and mercy. (81)

The premise of this chapter is that forgiveness becomes more necessary to the degree the damage of living in a fallen world is faced. (88)

The war against us is disguised behind the humdrum monotony and imperceptible abuses of daily living, so that a call to arms is ignored as silly adventuring or the paranoid delusions of negativism. (92)

In any case, destructive lust involves the heart of a thief whose passion is to be satisfied, not the heart of a lover whose desire is to give. (104)

But the Cross, like a brilliant conundrum, was, in fact, the height of glory. What appeared to be the death of God, the shaming of the prized only begotten Son of the Most High, and the dissolution of the Trinity was actually the most glorious interplay of justice and mercy, worked out in perfect harmony by all members of the Godhead. (121)

Our weapons are prayer, faith, and bold love. (130)

Faith, then, is an assertion of trust, even when our circumstances point in a direction that seems to call into question God’s goodness. (132)

If I do not anticipate the regularity and tragedy of sin, I unavoidably come to believe this world is my home. (140)

I am prepared for battle when my desire to love is simply stronger (even by a molecule) than my desire to snuff out the flame of mercy that God has graciously intruded into my heart. (156)

To forgive another means to cancel the debt of what is owed in order to provide a door of opportunity for repentance and restoration of the broken relationship. (160)

Biblical forgiveness is never unconditional and one-sided. It is not letting others go off scot-free, “forgiven,” and enabled to do harm again without any consequences. Instead, forgiveness is an invitation to reconciliation, not the blind, cheap granting of it. (162)

Forgiveness involves a heart that cancels the debt but does not lend new money until repentance occurs. (162)

The offender must repent if true intimacy and reconciliation are ever to take place. (163)

Hope for heaven (that is, for beauty restored) is deeply embedded in all human relationships. (171)

We cancel the debt in order to invite the offender to return from the pigpen and join us at the banquet table. (181)

Bold love is the tenacious, irrepressible energy to do good in order to surprise and conquer evil. (185)

The choice to pursue and embrace goodness toward others must be motivated by a passion to overcome evil and destroy it from its roots. (204)

In many cases, bold love will unnerve, offend, hurt, disturb, and compel the one who is loved to deal with the internal disease that is robbing him and others of joy. (208)

In essence—bold love is a unique blend of invitation and warning—a pull toward life and push away from death. (211)

The magnificence of bold love is that in its brokenness, surprise, and simplicity, it is a human gift that could come only from heaven. Bold love provokes disruption that leads to solace, repentance that leads to rest; but far more, it invites both giver and receiver to stare into the eyes of mystery, the wonder of the meaning of the Cross. (309) (Quote source here.)

“Our weapons are prayer, faith, and bold love” (page 130). First Corinthians 13 opens with these three verses: If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

So let’s gain something . . .

Let’s gain . . .

Bold love . . . .

YouTube Video: “Others” by Israel Houghton:

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit here
Photo #3 credit here

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