A few weeks ago I found myself listening to a conversation between people sharing this observation: people who don’t know Jesus yet can be loving too. In addition, it was stated that people who don’t know Jesus are often more loving than those who profess to be Christians.
This is what Christ followers are supposed to look like: By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) No wonder people question Christianity when they observe hateful, judgmental behavior and emotionally driven, sound-bite laden communication.
Now look at the verse before it: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)
As Jesus has loved us, we must love others.
How did Jesus love us? He died on Calvary hill.
How did God love us? He sent Jesus to die on Calvary hill.
How does the Spirit lead us? To die to self and live to God.
I wonder if we sometimes confuse kindness with love. They are not the same! Love is listed separately from kindness in Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. I am wondering if Christ followers have such a watered down view of love that we think we are doing well if we are being kind. Perhaps this has led to the arguments that people who don’t know Jesus yet love others as well as Christians do, or even better.
Let’s remember what is means to love.
I don’t know why I get fooled into thinking I am loving well, except that I too have allowed the meaning of love to be watered down. To help me remember, I will be sharing some quotes this month about what it means to love like God from If, written by Amy Carmichael. Amy was a Christian missionary who worked 55 years in India without furlough. Her main focus was providing a home for young girls destined to be sold to the temple and used as prostitutes. In the last two decades of her life, while bedridden, she wrote many books, and I am so thankful she did. While serving in India, Amy received a letter from a young lady who was considering life as a missionary. She asked Amy, “What is missionary life like?” Amy wrote back saying simply,
“Missionary life is simply a chance to die.”
Our Bible tells us: …For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Luke 4:45b) This week I am featuring statements that challenge us to consider the truth that our words reflect the condition of our heart. (If you want more, her book is inexpensive.)
Are your words reflecting God’s love? (Read each several times and let it sink in.*)
If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love. (For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water however suddenly jolted.) (120)
If I can easily discuss the shortcomings and the sins of any; if I can speak in a casual way even of a child’s misdoings, then I know nothing of Calvary’s love. (55)
If I enjoy a joke at the expense of another; if I can in any way slight another in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary love. (66)
If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love. (66)
If I can rebuke without a pang, then I know nothing of Calvary love. (66)
Forget kindness; this is love.
Has God pricked your heart as He has mine? There is a solution. Go to Him, confess and change your ways.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24)
Prayer: Lord, grant us the ability to speak in a way that displays your love to the world.
Picture Explanation: As snow fell in so many parts of the nation, a new friend shares a picture of the sunrise from her balcony; Flowers from friends and family remind me of spring to come; Sympathy cards remind me that people care when someone passes away. No matter how chilly the weather, people can provide warmth. Let’s love people well.
© 2021 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.
*Page numbers are offered as they appear in my Kindle version, Generation 1.