This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear Children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth (1st John 3: 16-18 NIV).
I love my siblings, but I have a special affinity for the baby of the family my father nicknamed, “Baby-David.” I showed my mother hen tendencies when it came to him. Whatever he loved, I tried to give him. Of all my siblings, we spent the most time together. As the oldest, I often babysat him while in high school and college. I brought him everywhere and when I moved out and began a family of my own, he often spent weekends with me. What I adored about David was his quick wit, athletic abilities, and the way he combined both. Once when we were playing catch, I told him “I love the way you throw.” He replied, “if you love then marry it.” I’d say, “I love this baseball glove.” He’d say, “then marry it.” Early on my parents explained to Baby-David that when people are in love, they get married. He assumed that if you love someone or something, you marry it.
I’m sharing these memories as a set up for the question: Baby-David started asking: “What’s love got to do with it?” When he’d decided he was too grown for hugs and kisses. I’d have to hold him down to get my fixes of affection. He’d wipe his face in a show of defiance that he was rejecting my expressions of sisterly love. This behavior got my father’s attention and he began to talk to David about love.
My father described love by explaining that God first showed us, love. He said that God had a special place in His heart for the church and viewed those in it as His bride. When we get to heaven we would meet up with God (our groom) for the great wedding feast. My father explained that earthly marriage was given to people as a way for us to enjoy the love benefits of what was to come in heaven.
This example was taken out of context when David observed how we each used the term love. He heard me say I loved a lot of things, I loved coffee, my cat, any (and I do mean any) car I had (even the ones with rotted floors, mismatch doors, and missing door handles). He saw we all loved to read, we loved playing checkers, monopoly, and scrabble. He saw we loved long road trips with ham sandwiches. We loved our Jamaican heritage. We loved the US. We loved God, and we loved each other.
In looking at the current state of our nation, I believe we’d be hard-pressed to see actions of love as described in the word of God. When was the last time we turned on the news and saw examples of people displaying empathy towards others? When was the last time we saw people in our current political climate-loving each other with actions and truth? We say we love Starbucks, we love the Green Bay Packers, we love fresh-squeezed lemonade on a hot summer afternoon, and of course, we love to be loved. But can we say we demonstrate love to God by loving His people? Let me put it another way, do we love the unlovable? Do we love our neighbors, even the ones who don’t look like us, worship like us, or belong to the same political party? What is this love God wants Christians to show? I can assure you it isn’t the same love we have for our favorite coffee! At a time in our world when love is tossed like a football and applied to everything imaginable; it doesn’t come close to the love Jesus demonstrated by laying His life down for us.
Dear God, help me to examine my heart for areas of hardness toward others. Show me how to demonstrate love in a way that glorifies You.
Love is an action.
God shows us, hypocritical love, only talks.
The character of our walk demonstrates real love.
All people are equally created for glorifying God.
At the core of John’s teaching, we find an invitation for togetherness.
The retreat from fellowship is an indication of selfishness.
God is light; in Him, there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5)
There are consequences to our thoughts, words, and actions both good and bad both carnal and spiritual.
God really is light! -Katherine Kartsonis October 8, 2020
Amen! Love, especially God’s agape form of love, has everything to do with how Christians should live our lives. It’s most difficult some days to show God’s love to those who seem to be seeking to destroy everything we’ve grown to love (in our human version of love) in our lives. Yet, if we endeavor to be the “Christ-like” people we are supposed to be working towards, we must put aside our differences and love them with God’s love. This doesn’t mean we have to agree with them, as agreement is not a condition of love. It also doesn’t mean we have to roll over and surrender to their demands, actions, or rhetoric. We do, however, have to show them respect, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. In some cases, our doing so will cause them to stop and think about their actions. You see, darkness hates the light! Our job as Christian’s, be reflectors of God’s light. Very well said author! -J.D. Wininger August 11, 2020
What a timely message. -Tracey July 25, 2020