Skip to main content

Love is more than a four letter word

Quite some time ago, one of the national marketing campaigns for a well-known cellular carrier asked the question, "Can you hear me now?"  In time, this became a hallmark question associated with a little humor in circles all around the globe - people asking each other if they "could hear them now" when they needed to repeat something, or if they were just making a point about needing someone to listen.  Today, I think the question we might consider is can you see my love now?  People have an excellent opportunity to put into action the words they speak - by modeling the love of Christ to others.  This might look like us stopping by the side of the road to help a woman with small children bouncing in the backseat change that flat tire.  It might resemble us helping an elderly man or woman put those groceries carefully into their trunk so as not to break the eggs.  It could also look like us sitting at the bedside of a friend who has just received bad news from the doctor, holding their hand and crying a little with them as they process the news.  Whatever it looks like for you, today will present itself with opportunities galore to "love each other" through what another can see - not just what they hear us say.

But if we say we love God and don’t love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don’t love the people we can see? The commandment that God has given us is: “Love God and love each other!” (I John 4:20-21 CEV)

If we consider this passage carefully, we find the measure of how much we are truly loving God is found in the evidence of how well we are doing with loving each other.  If we can "see" and "feel" each other - then how we love the ones we "can" see is a reflection of how well we are "in love with" and "loving" as God loves us.  Mom and Dad exemplified love in our family in a variety of ways.  We had warm food on the table, three squares a day, and a nice place to lay our heads at night.  We had clothes appropriate for the season and the occasion.  We may not have had the latest of fashion trends, but we were neat, clean, and always well-polished.  We also had moments of solitude with which we were to consider how we could have done something differently - usually whenever we crossed the line into disrespect or not so desirable behavior.  We had some discipline which made us sit up and take notice, while other discipline simply redirected our behavior in subtle ways so as to "form" us into responsible citizens.  Love in my home had both sides of the coin - good, caring, and easily embraced measures which revealed a tender side combined with a tougher side of love which was designed to correct wrong behavior.  God's love isn't much different, so when we love in a similar manner to his love revealed to us, we are exemplifying Christ to the world around us.

We cannot disrespect others and say we love God.  God shows creation respect - choosing to allow us to use our free-will to make choices instead of lording it over us, demanding his way or the highway.  Yep, there are expectations established, but the choice is still ours.  So, God does respect his creation and we should exemplify this respect in our relationships with each other.  This might mean we give a little when someone isn't right on the mark, so to speak. It might also mean we challenge them a little to get closer to the mark.  We don't criticize their "miss", but rather we lovingly assist them realize the correction needed in order to at least come closer to the mark.  This might look like helping someone who is trying to quit smoking with some practical steps like developing a "smoke plan" which slowly reduces the number of cigarettes they smoke each day.  If they are trying to avoid a certain tempting food in order to reduce the amount of calories they take in, you might agree to go with them to the cafeteria to help them stay on track with their diet.  When they are working on developing solid habits of exercise, you might suggest you each go on a walk following lunch each day.  You don't criticize them when they don't follow the plan, indulge a little, or miss a few days walking.  Instead, you respond as God responds to you - in mercy, love, and forgiveness - with the end result of helping one make the course correction necessary.

Our passage suggests another truth:  Love God first and love him "well".  When you do this, you are able to love others equally as well.  We may not "see" God - nor are we able to wrap our arms around him in a palpable embrace - but we do "sense" him and "know" his presence.  We know his truths upon which we stand - we also know his commands are there for our protection and safety, not to discourage us or keep us from enjoying life.  We see his love modeled in sacrifice and can experience the intensity or depth of that love in the magnificence of what God was willing to sacrifice to bring us close to him in restored relationship.  When we begin to see God's love and appreciate how much he loves us, we begin to find ways to exemplify this love to others around us.  It isn't usually that we need to love God more - we just need to appreciate the fullness of his love toward us a little more. You know, God might just show you and I how to love even the most unlovely among us if we'd stop long enough to embrace his love a little better.  Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Period!

When someone tells you that you need to wrap your mind around some concept, they are telling you that the subject at hand will take some effort on our part to actually get enough of a hint of it in order to even remotely understand it. The subject is complex, even a little overwhelming, and we will have to apply ourselves to really grasp it very well. We cannot wrap our minds around God's wisdom and knowledge - because it is infinite and our brains are sadly finite. We can only 'think' so far and then we have to 'trust'. Some of us think there is nothing we can trust if we cannot 'think' it through, but this will never work when it comes to our faith. Faith requires trust in what is unseen and not fully comprehended. The truth we believe is really building our trust, but until we approach God with more trust than 'thought', we will never fully grasp some of the things he has prepared for us. We cannot wrap our minds around God’s wisdom and knowledg

Give him the pieces

What or Who is it that causes division among you right now? Maybe it is more of a 'what' than a 'who' that is creating the division between you and something you need in your life. Perhaps you are struggling with an addiction to something that keeps coming between you and true liberty from the hold that thing has on you. Yes, addiction is really the worst kind of enslavement one can imagine - being so emotionally or psychologically attached to the 'thing' that any attempt to break free causes so much trauma in your life that you just cannot imagine being free. But...God is above that addiction - he is stronger than the emotional or psychological pull that thing has in your life. Maybe the dividing force in your life right now is a 'who' - a tough relationship challenge between you and a coworker, a spouse that seems to no longer share your interests or values, or even a relative that doesn't understand some of your choices and now chooses to withdraw