When I speak of virtue or happiness or God’s plan to heal the world, there are always those who mistakenly believe I have never seriously considered the flaws of the church, the realities of our time, or the difficulties in getting a group of people to move together in faith.

But I am not naive.

I am as cynical as they come, when left to my own devices. But I have chosen not to live by my own devices. I have invited the Spirit to heal me, to heal my imagination, to heal my judgments, to heal my perceptions. I have asked the Spirit to restore my belief in others, knowing full well they will never satiate my desire for the good, the true, or the beautiful. With the Spirit’s help I can love crummy people and laugh at their lack of consideration. I can ignore their affronts and remain charmed by their flaws. When I walk in the Spirit, I can see Christ in each of them. And I must walk in the Spirit, for if I do not, then I hate everybody.

But with the Spirit, I can move past my hate. This is God’s plan for the Church—not indifference, but impassioned engagement with the world. God’s plan is for his people to love recklessly.

Reckless love buys the engagement ring even though she might say no; pays for rehab even though he might drink again; leaves a message even though they might not call back. Reckless love does not look for guaranteed returns on investment because that sort of return is too small.

Adapted from Then. Now. Next.: A Biblical vision of the church, the kingdom, and the future.