Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:37-40 KJV
Love. It will be all the rage this month, with the chocolate and flower ads bombarding us from all directions. Ads trying to convince men that if they really love their wife or girlfriend, buy her something. Preferably something shiny, or, at minimum, something she can share.
In our foundational text, Jesus was answering the question a lawyer raised, “…which is the great commandment of the law…” Here, in Matthew, Jesus sums it up for him and for us: love. Love God with all you have and love everyone else like you do yourself.
Why is that? In verse 40, Jesus tells us why: everything (all the laws and everything the Prophets have told us) is based on the law of love. Something so simple, yet profound. If we loved God with everything we had, we wouldn’t transgress or rebel against Him. If we loved everyone the way we love ourselves, we would be patient, kind, long suffering, tender-hearted!
Love is the foundation upon all is built. It was love that moved God to create a family. It was love that moved God to have a Kinsman Redeemer already in place to bring us back to Him. It was love that gave the laws (the commandments) so that, in the meantime, as we adhered to them, we would live a long, healthy, wealthy, whole life (just read those promises in Deuteronomy!) It was love that not only saved us from eternal damnation, but freed us from sickness and disease as Christ carried it on His back; freed us from demonic oppression as the Blood of the Lamb poured; freedom from poverty as He took the crown of thorns, the symbol of poverty, upon His head. He became poor (He was in heaven where there are no deficits) so that we, through His poverty (let’s face it, even Bill Gates compared to God’s wealth is poor) might be rich. Love poured itself out for us. So what do we do in return?
For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered. Jeremiah 10:21
You might be thinking, “Okay. But I’m not a pastor.” We are all called to be a priest and king unto Him (Revelation 1), so, in a sense, you are. You are a priest unto Him. For some people, you are the only Jesus they will see. And yet, for many in the body of Christ, they have turned from being saints to brutes. We don’t make peace with God (by repenting); we don’t pray; we don’t seek His providence; we don’t seek His counsel; we don’t acknowledge when God is speaking to us nor do we expect deliverance to come from His hand. So what happens to us: we do not prosper. We don’t prosper in our bodies, in our souls, in our circumstances. We do not prosper because we do not love: we have become brutes. And the number one thing we don’t do is:
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13: 34-35 KJV
Character assignation. This is the number one thing that surprises other people who aren’t Christians, but are seeking God. It’s also the number one reason people leave the church. They might not turn their backs on God, but they certainly receive such wounds they really don’t want to be connected to any church. They can’t understand how we treat each other. What an abomination this is to the Lord, to sow discord among the brethren (Proverbs 6:19). I know that there are groups out there who believe they are to “expose” what they believe are “false teachers” or “false prophets”. Oh, brothers and sisters, we need to be so careful. It is not our jobs to play Holy Ghost Jr. If you see something that you might believe is not right, then you need to be quiet and take it to the Lord. He will expose it:
Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. Matthew 13:30
When you try to “weed out” what you think is not of God, you end up hurting the people connected to the situation so much worse. If you allow God to handle it, He will! He loves us so much that He grants us time to repent and make amends. If we do not, He will expose us Himself. You have seen this on television time and time again. Someone’s own actions will eventually be brought to light for all to see if they do not repent. And even then, we are to love them as we would ourselves: forgive them and pray for them to be whole again.
I have experienced this for myself. Years ago, my family and I were going to a church. One of the associate pastor’s had made me very uncomfortable whenever we saw him. I felt as though he was being inappropriate. After it happening a few times consistently, I spoke to my husband about it, as I thought I was reading into something. My husband is an extremely discerning individual and had noticed as well. As the priest of our house, he led me into prayer and took it to the Lord. We felt the leading of God to not do anything about it, but to pray for the pastor. This continued for one full year. It was getting more difficult for us to hold our peace about the situation. We almost stopped going to church, as we didn't want to cause any strife. We couldn’t understand why we had to be quite and pray, but we stayed obedient. At the end of one year’s time, he resigned from his post as associate pastor, for he failed to adhere to the loving nudging of God to cut it out. His own actions toward another had exposed him. Some left the church because they were so hurt, but, eventually, many came back. The church I was going to handled this difficult situation very well and healing was manifested in the lives of those connected to this associate pastor and his unfortunate choices.
What if we had decided to “expose” this brother? Maybe the ones that left would have never come back to church, and we would be partly responsible for it. Instead, we choose to walk in love and love this brother as we loved ourselves. We trusted God and gave this dear soul over to Him knowing that sooner or later, it will be taken care of. And it was to the glory of God! Now, don't misunderstand. There might be a time when God tells you to speak, but again, we need to be sensitive to His timing; His leading. We need to check our own motives and examine them under the law of love. We need to check our own motives and examine them under the law of love.
If you have been involved in gossip (only because something is true doesn’t mean it needs to be repeated) or slander, turn today and repent for it.
We need to go back to our Jewish roots. I read this from an article on how to stop gossiping in the workplace from aish.com “…The Psalms state that a person who desires life will avoid speaking ill of others (Psalms 34:13-14)); and our sages stated, "Gossip kills three: the teller, the listener, and the subject." A "vain" story doesn't have to be false or even slanderous; as long as the subject would prefer not to have the story broadcast, it is considered gossip and it's none of your business.”. The Jews take gossip very seriously. So should we.
God loves you. Stay pliable. Walk in love. That old saying, “What would Jesus do?” is so simple, and yet profound. Before you act or speak, think about what would Love do? Would love talk about it? Think about? Act upon it? Let the Holy Spirit heal you where you hurt and show you how to begin anew. Allow the gentle Spirit of God to love you and show you how to love others. Get addicted to love and watch your whole world change for the better.
In His Grip,
Raquel Soto is the founder of Lydia's Legacy Ministries, an outreach dedicated to help women (and men) live their life more abundantly, to the full, to it overflows.
For more information, logon to http://www.acts1614.org. This article was taken from our free ezine, Life More Abundant, copyright 2007 and may be distributed freely only in it’s entirety.
If you would like the mini-book that accompanies more of this teaching, you can get it @ the Faith Writers ebook store for only 99 cents!