10 *This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.*
Love is such an overused term in our culture that it is hard to
understand what it means. To some it means attraction or affection to others it is a deep sense of commitment based on mutual benefit… But to love like God loves is to love without expecting anything in return. What an amazing thought that while we were yet sinners God loved us. God doesn’t need us, in fact it says that our righteous deeds are like a filthy rag which is to say, that the good we do can never earn the salvation we receive. Loving people is so hard especially when that love isn’t returned in the manner we desire. But to love someone is to be committed to their good regardless of whether they meet our expectations. Christ loves us though we don’t deserve it and sacrificed his life so we might love others. I know from my own experience that loving people takes a deep dependency on God. Christians are flawed sinners like everyone else and we often are quick to cast dispersion's on one another based on incomplete information… Yet even when others condemn and judge us we must love them. When people who claim Christ in their lives are so quick to condemn others it is because they often don’t realize the depths of their own sin. They are led to believe by their good external deeds that they possess a wisdom that is beyond other believers and they often start creating new doctrines based on works which rob the word of God of its power. These people are what Christ calls the self-righteous Pharisees, but as Christians we must love them and hope that God works in their hearts to change them. Some Christians are likewise less likely to judge but don’t live life’s that are set apart from the world, and so they love this world too much and their love for Christ isn’t strong enough to resist temptation.
Most Christians lean on one side of the equation or the other and it is easy for those groups to despise and separate themselves from one another but that isn’t what Christ Calls for. He says to the Pharisee “Love your brother who is worldly and is in need of prayer so that they may be holy” and to the believer who is worldly “Love the self-righteous Pharisee and be kind and do not disparage or condemn him in his sin”. Let go of bitterness and unforgiveness and more than anything let go your need to control your life… Guy’s when we must have control we deny that Christ knows what is best for us and it is an arrogance that he will correct with discipline. The scriptures says that we must first look in our hearts before we correct a brother but how often do the sins of others seem so big and our own sins seem so small. How much more joy and peace would there be in this world if the Christians could love each other like Christ loves them. We cannot ignore sin in ourselves or others but to love someone is to forget and forgive what they have done. If we have set views of anyone then we deny the power of the Holy Spirit to change them and our hearts have become bitter and cold. Give people second chances and don’t pigeonhole people by taking them at their worst moments. If we cannot love others in this way then how can we say the love of God exists in our hearts? Don’t separate yourself from people but engage them and don’t give up on them. Love and remember that you are loved and never forget that the love God has given you is undeserved so never make someone earn your love but give it freely.
About the Author: I am a Birmingham attorney who has been in private practice for over six years. I have a general practice, so I get the opportunity to help serve people who find themselves in some very difficult circumstances. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it encourages you. I always love getting thoughtful comments, so please email those to me. My website is www.reidlawalabama.com. If you know anyone who is going through a difficult situation whether it be legal or personal and they are in Birmingham area you can e-mail me at email@example.com. Our firm works with some excellent faith based counselors, many of whom are free or low cost. A lot of the times the legal issues people face are due to deeper underlying issues like substance abuse and other things. I have found the most effective form of treatment is getting a personally qualified counselor who helps get to the root of the issues someone is dealing with, and we will help people get connected for free (we never take a payment for referral fee for this). Again my website is www.reidlawalabama.com, which contains my contact information. God Bless.