I often wonder how someone can say they love the Lord but they fail to love those around them. Christianity is all about love. If one professes to be a child of God, then the love of God should dwell within that person.
This love within us causes us to love God and others. It’s an unconditional love and is not predicated upon what others feel or do. You will love not only those who love you, but you will love those who hate or mistreat you. I know that’s contrary to human nature, which dictates that we love those who love us and treat us fairly. However, God asks us to go beyond human nature.
I’m convinced that a lack of love is the root of many problems in our society. How can one truly love you if they seek to misuse and abuse you? How can one truly love you if they seek to kill you or even rob you? The lack of genuine love causes people to want to do harm to others and to mistreat one another.
We forget that love is an action and our actions express the love that is within us. What we say and do is an outward expression of the love we have within. In fact, our love for God is expressed in our love for each other.
The Bible says this about love in connection to our love for God and others. John 13:35 says, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
1 John 4:20-21 states, “If a man says I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother who he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.”
There are many other scriptures I could cite, but from these two we can see that our love for God is connected to our love for one another. We cannot claim to love God without loving those we come in contact with every day.
You might wonder how you can love those who mistreat you, abuse you, lie to you and do evil against you. I will tell you it is not easy. It cannot be done in the flesh. It has to be done in the spirit. You have to allow the God in you to love through you. You have to walk with the spirit so that you will not give in to the lust of the flesh. When you walk with the spirit, you bear the fruit of the spirit, which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. (Galatians 5:22)
Dionne Warwick’s song, “What the World Needs Now is Love,” rings true today. Love is a priceless gift. As we enter this season of giving, let us give more love. Let us love one another as God loves us. You see, God showed his love for us through Jesus. Even though we were sinners, Christ died for us. If we say we love God, then we need to demonstrate our love for God by loving those we interact with on a daily basis.
Don’t allow hate to control your life. Don’t allow what others do to you dictate your actions. Remember you are accountable for what you do. No one can stop you from loving them. They can stop you from fellowshipping with them, but they cannot stop you from loving them. Loving God means loving one another.
Jackson is the pastor of the St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church and a member of the Liberty County United Ministerial Alliance.