We were made to love and be loved. Every human being on this round little sphere we call earth has the same basic need. It matters not your skin colour, your language, or your religion. It is something that each of us are born needing, so it is not a result of personality or emotional need, it is a result of how we were created.
The greatest example of love the world has ever seen is recorded in the pages of the New Testament. “For God so LOVED the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Love gives. God’s love gives us what we could never do for ourselves. Unconditional, undeserved love.
During these days of tension and strained relationships it would be good for us to pass on that divine love to everyone around us. Today, it seems that everyone has an agenda, be it a political one or a social one. The biblical mandate is that we love others even when we disagree with the other person, or them with us! This is really the love that God shared with us. The Scripture teach that even when we were disobedient God still loved us!
This attitude of love is challenged by animosity. Even in church circles, we tend separate ourselves from those who are “like” us from those who don’t agree with us. The Apostle Paul often wrote about the conflict among church people and how it needs to be solved. He implores people to solve the issue and get things right, he does not give us the option to walk away without resolving the conflict.
Here are a few example where Paul even calls people out! Their names are written in the Bible forever! How would you like people to remember that you had an issue with someone else! Crazy stuff!
“I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.” Phil. 4:2
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
We as members of the body of Christ, the church, have a divine obligation to love with a divine love. But this love is not a nice poem, or a nice one or two-line devotional thought, it is love that costs, love that looks to serve the other. This love is not at the expense of biblical truth but it is because of biblical truth.
I had a tendency, as a young pastor, to divide people into camps. Those camps were people I could agree with theologically and those I couldn’t agree with. My problem was that I would also withhold friendship from those in the latter camp. How petty! Yes, you are right, I was! I have confessed that to the Father and ask him to enable me to carry his love to every one whether they agree or not!
God is love. His love is perfected in our weakness. Our collective weakness as a society and as a church has been exposed in recent days. We must get back to the basics of walking the Christian faith, which is extending God’s love to every person who the he in his sovereignty brings across our path. It’s time, my friends, it is time!
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient and kind: love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all this, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.