A Four-Letter Word

Are you guilty of saying this four-letter word?  We have all said it.  The next question is have you acted it out?  I will admit that I have, but thankfully over the years, as I’ve grown in Christ, He has begun a work in me that allows me to walk in love, His love.  I don’t succeed all the time; however, He is constantly and meticulously working on me just as an artist works on his masterpiece.  So, what is this four-letter word?  It is HATE.

Considering the upcoming events this weekend in Murfreesboro, this four-letter word has been heavy on my heart.  On Saturday, hate is going to try and take over our town.  I am praying along with countless others that in hate’s place another four-letter word prevails…LOVE!  Not just any love but the love of Christ.  No one life matters more than another.  No skin color is more important than another.  Jesus died on the cross to pay the wages of sin and death for every life, every nationality, and every skin color.  He rose again on the third day because He conquered death and hell for each one of us, no matter where we come from and no matter what we look like.    

At our church this past Sunday, our Pastor spoke on relationships.  He discussed the world’s view compared to God’s view.  One of the things he said and had us repeat after each reference of God’s commitment to us was, “HE did, so I can!”  I want to remind myself and everyone else of this fact.  The following are just a few of His wonderful attributes that come to mind:

He loves everyone, so I can love everyone.

He forgives, so I can forgive others and myself.

He is merciful, so I can show mercy to others.

He is full of grace, so I can give grace to others.

He is full of compassion, so I can be compassionate to others.

He is generous, so I can be generous.

He is good, so I can show goodness to others.

He is just, so I can be fair and just to others.

He is wise, so I can draw from His wisdom.

He is strong, so I can find strength through Him.

lightThe list could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.  Since we are each created in His image, then each one of us is capable of being like Him if we allow Him to work through us.  My prayer is to be the light that cast out darkness, destroys hate, and instead brings glory to God.  I hope you will make this your prayer as well.  Much love!

 

Love Never Fails

I don’t like to talk politics and I’m not going to start now.  However, I do like to talk about God and His Word.  Considering recent events, I decided to take a hard look at what I’m teaching my children regarding how they treat other people.  They know the song, Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.  They know that God loves each of us, no matter where we live or what we look like.  But, have I been teaching them enough about how THEY should love others? 

I decided to dig into God’s Word for guidance.  What I rediscovered is this, God’s Word is full of direction about how we should love others.  The following are just a few scriptures I’d like to share on the topic:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.  John 13:34-35

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

 Love your neighbor, owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.  Romans 13:8

 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous.  I Peter 3:8

 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.  I Peter 4:8

 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.  I John 3:11

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  I John 4:11

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?  I John 4:20

 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  Galatians 5:14

My God is a God of love, mercy, compassion, and grace.  My God is a God who fights injustices and wrongs – for those are the things He hates.  Not a person or a group of people…maybe their actions but never them, for we are all created in His image.

The main take away is this:  Love others just like God loves you!  So, how does God love us?  For starters, He gave His only Son, who committed no wrong, to die on the cross for our sins.  What greater example of love could there be?  He loved us, even when we didn’t love Him.  He loves us no matter where we were born, no matter the color of our skin, no matter what we look like, no matter what we know or don’t know, no matter what we can or cannot do.  There is nothing and no one that can separate us from His love.  I Corinthians 13:4-8, 14 gives us a very detailed description of what love truly is.

 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.  And now abide faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

So, back to the question I originally asked myself.  Am I teaching my children how to truly love others the way God has commanded us to?  At six years of age, I watch how they interact with other people, especially other children, and they don’t care what their abilities or disabilities are, what they look like or the color of their skin.  They see them as friends and playmates.  Their sweet tender hearts have not been contaminated by the ugliness in this world.  They see others as being just like them.  Oh God, help me to always see others as my children do right now.  

hqdefaultI know as parents, we can’t protect them from everything, but I will be vigilant in monitoring what they see and hear as long as I can.  I am not naive in thinking that I can protect them forever, but I am confident they will have a good foundation upon which to form their own opinions and beliefs.  Let us earnestly search our hearts to discover if we are truly loving others as God has commanded us to.  We will most likely find an area that could be improved upon.  I’m sure of that in my life.  Make a commitment today to join me in loving others the way God does and in teaching our children how to do the same because love never fails.

Dear Lord,

Thank You for Your unwavering love in our lives and the lives of our children.  Thank You for forgiving us when we fall short and instead of condemning us, wrapping us in your mercy and grace.

 Help us to see ALL others through Your eyes of love and understanding.  Give us each the desire to treat others with respect and to seek out the best in them.  Make us a people who are generous with kindness and overflowing with compassion.  Help us to love others the way You love us.

In Jesus’ Name ~ Amen