Love – (1) affectionate concern for the well-being of others
(2) a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person
(3) a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection
(4) the benevolent affection of God for His creatures, or the reverent affection due from
My Word For The Year
As many people do at the beginning of the new year, I chose a word for the year. After much reflection, I chose the word love. I chose this word because it is something I need to work on in the coming year.
I was convicted in my spirit by the negative feelings I had toward others not like me. I was jumping on the social media bandwagon and deriding the people whose opinions were not like mine. Oh, I’m not one to say a lot of negative things on social media but I was secretly agreeing with a lot of things that were being said. I was writing off the people who thought differently, looked differently and acted differently from me.
You might think to yourself, “what’s the big deal about that?”
I’ll tell you. I profess to be a believer in Jesus Christ and the attitude I was harboring had nothing to do with my savior.
The Greatest Example of Love – My Heart’s Desire
The Pharisees, in their never-ending effort to trip up Jesus, asked him what the greatest commandment was. Jesus replied “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’”. (Matthew 22:37-39). In its simplest form, love God, love people.
Jesus wasn’t talking about the people who lived next door or across the street. Our neighbor is anyone we come in contact with. Even the ones with different opinions, different lifestyles, different faiths, different skin tones, different languages, different political affiliations. Yep, those too. As believers, we are to love people. After all, God loves them and wants them to know him.
I know what you’re thinking — “yeah, but, they (fill in the blank).”
It is hard. I know that. Some people are hard to love. That doesn’t let us off the hook, though. I love an illustration my friend Christi uses. She will put on a giant pair of sunglasses and call them her “God eyes”. Her point is that we need to see the people around us the way God sees them, people made in his image who need to experience his love and salvation.
I want to see the people around me like that. I want to look at them with compassion. I want to be on my knees praying for my perceived enemies rather than joining in the angry discourse against them. Anger and disunity are plaguing our world today, we, as believers, need to be part of the loving response.
Words About Love
The Bible has much to say on the subject of love. Here are a few of my favorite verses.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:43-44
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”. John 13:34-35
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 1 John 4:7-8, 20
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
If you are a fellow believer, will you meditate on these words, especially in this time in our history when hate seems so strong?
If this seems strange to you and you want to find out more about God’s love, a good place to start is in the book of John. Click here to read more.
Attending Vacation Bible School in the summer was a part of my my childhood. It’s no surprise that my favorite thing was crafts. Out of all the different things I made over the years, one thing stands out. It was a piece of cardboard covered with orange burlap with the words God is Love glued on it in blue yarn. God doesn’t just love. God is love. We are made in his image so we, too should love.