In return, you are my friends if you obey me.
That is not exactly a Hallmark Card. It most certainly is not how we would envision a typical love story playing out. Yet this is the paradigm for godly biblical love. Now let us turn to Shawn Bolz and see how Bethel Church bastardizes these truths.
"Looking at social media posts, news articles and current events can cause us to have a worldly filter for what is going on instead of seeing these things through God's eyes. Love is often the missing ingredient in how we interact with those around us. The love we need is God's love. Love is the greatest commandment; to love God and love others (Matt. 22:37-39). If someone at church comes up to you and belittles you or gossips about you, there is usually something else going on besides the surface level discussion. People are propelled by their past, both good and bad. Hurt, trauma, mental challenges and even demonic oppression can be hiding under the surface in ways that are not immediately apparent when dealing with a situation. It's similar to if you had a serious health problem, yet you mask it by just taking high doses of Advil without dealing with the root of the issue. Love gets to the root!" - Shawn Bolz
It is true that if we only see love through social media posts and current events we can have a worldly filter. The way we see things through "God's eyes" however is not some great mystical secret. It is by applying everything we see and hear through the filter of the bible. That is what it means to test everything. Love is often not the missing ingredient at all - doctrine is! How? Well love is the greatest commandment but as we outlined, love it directly tied to our obedience to His word. You do not love God if you are in constant disobedience to Him and you certainly do not love others if you leave these core teachings out of whatever passes for evangelism these days. The fact is that far too many outreaches remove anything that might be offensive to the unsaved even though the Gospel is meant to divide. People are saved through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, not some parlor trick.
Now if someone comes up to you at church and belittles you I would suggest that there is a deeper problem going on but it is not merely a lack of love. Gossip is trickier because I fear what Bolz is referring to here is what is known as the truth. If I am at Bethel and correctly point out that Bill Johnson is a heretic, that is not gossip. If I point out correctly that Kris Vallotton is a false teacher, that is not Gossip. If I point out that Shawn Bolz is a false prophet who fakes words of knowledge, that is not gossip. Love is not the absence of truth. It is predicated on it.
"The Bible says that "perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18b). Love allows us to see people as God sees them. His love is never ending and yet our love is limited. We must stay connected to our source, Jesus and His Word, in order to have our mind renewed daily. Hurt people hurt people. Jesus commanded that we should turn the other cheek not so that we could be taken advantage of but so that love would prevail in the midst of an easily escalated situation. Shawn Bolz says that we are wired to hear from God. Discernment is important in making decisions that honor God; however, we cannot just make good decisions in our own knowledge. We must be connected supernaturally, and Shawn clarifies that we can understand things in our natural eyes or even spiritual truths without understanding what is in God's heart. We need to stay connected daily to the source." - Shawn Bolz
We are not "wired" to hear from God. At least not how Bolz and Bethel teaches. They teach this esoteric emptying of oneself to listen for the first thing that pops into our wickedly deceitful hearts and then ascribe that to hearing from God. Nonsense. As born-again Christians we have the indwelt Holy Spirit to lead us into all truths contained within scripture and thus we hear from God. If he were truly connected to God through His word, then he would realize that God sees people as sinners who need the salvation He offers through His Son Jesus Christ. Once again, not your typical, carnal, Hallmark Card. When Jesus taught us about turning the other cheek it was not a moment of intervention training as Shawn outlines. It was again contrasting life under the New Covenant with the old, where the rule was an eye for an eye. God's heart is found in His word, so I am sorry but you cannot know spiritual truths without understanding His word.
"Christians who condemn without showing love may lose their witness to unbelievers. Shawn says we often place strict elderlike restrictions on people just coming to church, which will often result in them getting turned away from the gospel. The church should be a hospital for sinners, and if we do not show others the love of the Father, we could lose our witness and influence in their lives. Of course, there are times when we need to disciple and discipline in the church, but this comes out of relationship. Truth partnered with love is a vital combination for all Christians. Most of what you see from Christians on social media may be truth but not love. How can you show love online to someone with whom you are not in relationship? It's hard. If you have a seat at the table of someone's life, then you have a responsibility to show them love and even bring up the hard topics. Those looking on the outside in will not come to Christ because of the "rules" associated with the Bible. They will come to Christ because of His love which fills the hole in our hearts to be known and loved by our Creator." - Shawn Bolz