I have sat across the sanctuary and watched as a vital member of the congregation flipped the pages of another member’s Bible to the proper passage and thought…that’s love.
I have heard of a friend encouraging and hugging a young child who was questioning his worth and thought…that’s love.
I have read the blogs of those serving (both short-term and long-term) in the missionfield around the world as they minister to children and families living in poverty situations that I can’t begin to understand and thought…that’s love.
Call it a personality trait, a learned behavior, or a sin (or some wicked combination of all three), but I have a horrible tendency to become judgmental and critical of those around me. Often, with very little cause or provocation.
[This is the point in the conversation where you try to offer some consolation by assuring me that I am NOT the only one with this struggle. At least I hope I’m not.]
But recently, I have yet again (you’d think I could get it the first – or tenth – time…) been made aware (or, dare I say, convicted) of how this tendency is without question UN-loving and UN-Christ-like.
In distinct contrast and opposition to this judgmental tendency is a selfless exhibit of love, which is simultaneously a command, a commitment, and a choice. When it comes to our interactions with others (both inside and outside of the body of Christ, the Church), rather than standing in judgment, the Biblical imperative is to…
“’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no commandment greater than these.’”
Mark 12:30-31 (New International Version)
“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.
As you have heard from the beginning,
his command is that you walk in love.”
2 John 6 (NIV)
“Love must be sincere.
Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Honor one another above yourselves.”
Romans 12:9-10 (NIV)
“Flee the evil desires of youth,
and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace,
along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
2 Timothy 2:22 (NIV)
“Do everything in love.”
1 Corinthians 16:14 (NIV)
“Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you,
for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.
And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia.
Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so
more and more.”
1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 (NIV – emphasis added)