Ok, now it’s important that, right from the start, I explain the kind of love I’m writing about this week. I’m NOT writing about the 60s-hippie-sleep-with-anyone-do-anything-that-makes-you-feel-good-and-don’t-worry-about-the-consequences kind of love. I AM writing about the I’ve-got-God-in-my-heart-and-I-can’t-help-but-have-it-shine-through-even-to-my-enemies kind of love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 explains it much better than I ever could:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
So if we ever come up a little short in this department, where do we get this love from? Where does love originate? It all starts with God:
“We love because he first loved us.” –1 John 4:19
God is truly amazing. Despite all of our shortfalls, in spite of the numerous ways that we disappoint Him from time to time, He is still there for us:
“They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. . . .But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them . . .” – Nehemiah 9:17
It’s true that His love for us is endless:
“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep.”
Now, just because God’s love is endless, doesn’t mean that everything is all sunshine and bunnies. Sometimes, because he is a loving Father, he uses “tough love”:
“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the
Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
He also asks us not only to have love for, and be a true friend to our friends (see Proverbs 17:17), but also:
“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. . .”
Now THAT is a tough request! In a world of gossip, juicy newspaper headlines, and road rage, it is hard not to be judgmental. Alone, we are easily caught up in the trap of blaming our problems and the problems of the world on our enemies.
In this way, it is no accident that the first fruit of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22 is LOVE! As we draw closer to Jesus, we naturally show more compassion for others.
Much as he may drive me crazy, Barney the purple dinosaur has the right idea:
“I love you, you love me—we’re a happy family. . . .”
At least now you know where he gets some of his material from. It’s a big book called The Holy Bible!
May the love of God fill you to overflowing, so that it streams out of you to others,