How much do you love your friends? How much do you love your spouse? Kids? Neighbors? Relatives?
We are living in a time when love is abstract. Love has become more of a noun than a verb. And, when love is used as a verb, it often is used incorrectly. For example: I love ice cream! Do we really love ice cream? Would we do anything for it? Would we lay down our lives for it or put it above our own welfare? Ok, maybe this was a bad example because I think, as scary as it is, that many people would (and probably do) just that!
Love as a biblical verb is quite different than what we see nowadays.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Many would say that the opposite of love is hate but my late grandfather-in-law, Pastor David Berkheimer, was quick to say that the real opposite to love is actually selfishness. Love, as a biblical verb, seeks to put others above ourselves because we were first loved by God. Selfishness, however, puts ourself above others.
To love others means that we want the best for them and we want to minimize what’s not good for them. So, I want to propose a question to you: do you love others enough to call out their sin(s)? This is tough because, in our politically correct world, it isn’t polite or correct to think that you know what’s best for someone else, especially when it comes to religion. But, assuming that most of you are Christians, let’s make this more personal. Do you love your close friends, spouse, and/or relatives enough to call out their sin? Now, before you try to get sidetracked with thinking that Jesus said not to do this, let’s go ahead and see what He said:
Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
– Matthew 7:1-5
So, we see that Jesus said not to judge…good thing we aren’t judging here! The goal of love isn’t to point out sin but to bring the loved one out of a lifestyle or sinful action/attitude that is separating them from truly experiencing the source of all good, God! We should definitely get the log out of our own eye first, but we shouldn’t stop there. We should confront our loved ones in love to call them out of sin that is stopping them from fully living the with-God life.
Are You Loved Enough
How much do your friends love you? How much does your spouse love you? Kids? Neighbors? Relatives?
You probably see where this is going now. It’s not enough to love others and call them out of their sin. We need others to love us and do the same for us. Salvation doesn’t guarantee us to never walk in sin. Instead, it (the love of Christ) calls us out of sin and gives us the power to live a life that is victorious over sin in a process called sanctification.
A Look Love and Sin in 1 John 3
I want to leave you with this passage. Having gone through the study above, read this passage through the lens of loving others and being loved enough to call/be called to a life of holiness (the opposite of sinfulness).
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. Love One Another 11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
– 1 John 3
What are your thoughts/opinions? I love hearing from you, the reader. I firmly believe that we grow the most in godliness through community. We are the body of Christ, called to walk this journey out together! So, if you have some feedback, use the comment section below!
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Also published on Medium.