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Love

Posted by: Michael Stevenson on Mon, Mar 9, 2009

 

There is an issue which I have for a long time held back on speaking of. But, I feel that the time is here that it be spoken of. Therefore, I am writing this message to all the brethren to remind you of the fact that as God’s people, we ought to be showing love to all people that we come in contact with regardless. If one cannot have love toward people, they are not loving God and if they do not love God, they are breaking God’s commandments.

We have always been taught that when we break one commandment, we are breaking them all and when we break any of the commandments, then we are sinning. When we sin, we separate ourselves from God. Yet, we can overcome sin by living up to the laws and commandments of God.

But, how we do this is to start showing love toward our fellow beings. We also have to show love and respect to those who are placed in authority over the Church and if we cannot show love to anyone, we are then not showing love toward God.

Case in point, I am dealing right now with my sister who has not been showing love toward me. She claims she is "Christian" and yet, she wants to find one thing after another to accuse me about and to try to yell about—to the point that she wants to argue. Brethren, this type of attitude is not the attitude of God’s people. It also makes feelings hurt easily and also causes people to lose respect for those who do this. In reality, it is something to harms and not helps. It harms both sides, the ones being wronged and the ones committing the wrong.

What does God have to say about this? We need to know the truth. We need to see that when we are in this type of attitude, we are not being Christian and we are not showing that we have love toward God.

Now, my sister does not also approve of discipline, but sometimes, as God’s ministers, we must discipline those who are in God’s Church. That can be a hard job to do. Much of what my sister does with her fighting and not loving towards myself comes when I have to show discipline toward her when she does something that is not in harmony with God’s laws and commandments.

A case in point comes from 2006. I was dealing with someone who was a minister in the U.K. At the time, he had done something which was not becoming of a minister and I had to discipline him by removing him and dis-fellowshiping him for the sin which he had done. He was upset and he started going around and spreading rumors and so forth. When God’s laws and commandments are broken, it is the responsibility of the ministers to discipline in the manner that God has given us to discipline. I often do not like having to discipline anyone in God’s Church, but at the same time, we are reminded that "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him."–Proverbs 13:24 NIV It is never easy for a loving minister or parent to ever discipline a child or anyone. But there are times it is needful to do so. The greatest responsibility that God gives is to be a parent or a guardian. That means that also being a "parent" over the Church or over a congregation is also a very important duty that anyone can have.

Lack of discipline puts love in question because it also shows a lack of concern for the character and development of the Christian. Eventually, discipline can avert something which is going to be more harmful to either the individual or to the congregation. Without true discipline, when it is appropriate, then Christians have no clear understanding of what is right and what is wrong. Now I am not saying that a minister is supposed to go and dis-fellowship someone because he or she has went and smoked a cigarette–-but at the same time, we need to show to that person that smoking is not healthy, that it is dangerous to their well-being, both spiritually and physically, but it is not necessarily a cause for dis-fellowship.

However, there is also the fact that if someone goes and get’s drunk, does some sort of drugs which are illegal, or anything which can also be harmful to the congregation or the person which may result in breaking of God’s laws and commandments, we have a fundamental obligation to deal with it in a manner which is biblical.

We are reminded of what real love is. We see that "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."–1 John 3:16 NIV.

Real love is not words! Real love is action. It is something which produces selfless sacrifice. Christ exemplified this in his life. Whenever he was wronged, he never got mad at those who wronged him. He never once went and took it out on them when he was in pain, he never once went and said "I hate you" because he didn’t appreciate how someone talked to him. He never once was in pain and decided he was going to yell at someone. He never once was about to become homeless because his apartment was not clean and so he yelled at them because they called him. He never once got mad at others. He rather showed true and pure love. Yet, many of us will go and do things as what I mentioned because they cannot find it in them to show the same love Christ has shown.

How do we lay down our lives for someone else? Well, let me tell you that sometimes it is difficult, but at the same time, it is by serving others without thought of getting something in return. Sometimes it is easy to say "I will die for you than to live for you if it need be" or "I will go and do something you need done so that you can have time to yourself." These are just a few examples of how we can show that love.

Paul reminded us also of love. "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."–1 Corinthians 13:13

Paul had written that love is something which endures forever. Just as today, back at that time that Paul was alive writing this, love had become something which was a mixed-up term that had little to no meaning. We can see this again in our day! Today, people are still confused about what love is. Love is the greatest of all qualities that humans have and is a very real attribute that God has (1 John 4:8). Love is something which demands unselfish service toward others. The reason that Paul mentions faith and hope in that very verse is because if we have our faith and our hope in tune, then we are going to find that love is the action or the result of having faith and hope in tune. You are able to love because you come to understand how God has love for you. Does your faith fully express itself in loving others? If it doesn’t, then you need to check your faith and your hope. You need to make sure that you are in harmony in the areas of faith and of hope so that you can show true love towards others.

The very real key to following God’s laws and commandments is to have love (Leviticus 19:10-35) and to remember that when we are wronged, we refuse to hold a grudge, but to be forgiving and to show to those who are enemies that we also forgive them and love them (Matthew 5:43, 44). We may talk about love, but at the same time, we need to be willing to demonstrate what it means (Matthew 9:5, 6) and to show that love is measured by how we are treating other people (Matthew 10:42; Luke 6:37, 38). Remember, love is the very focus of all the laws and commandments that God has given to us (Mark 12:29-31) and that when we demonstrate true love, we are demonstrating that we love (fear) God (Exodus 20:20) and if we will fear God, then we are going to be loving others no matter what, finding in others true worth—because God has created all people and we do not know who will be called into God’s Church.

When we love even our enemies (Romans 12:9, 10), we do not know if that enemy will be someone who will be called into God’s Church. Remember love does indeed spread like fire to others (1 John 4:19) and if we will have love toward others, then we are also being obedient toward God and never should we allow small problems hinder you (John 15:17). These are all things which can hinder our spiritual growth in God’s Church.

I am not saying all these things to be harsh on anyone, but I want all who are in God’s Church to understand them and to understand that perhaps we all need some form of work upon all of these areas. Let us remember, when we have love, we are going to be able to better keep God’s laws and commandments. Remember, say you love someone and show that love to someone because time is short in life and God will also reward us because it will help us to also be in God’s Kingdom!


 

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