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Photo: Martha G. Brady

Photo: Martha G. Brady

Over the past month or so, I have been working through a study of I John. Among other things, it talks a lot about how our love for each other is a sign to the world around us, that we belong to Christ. That we are part of the family of GOD!

Can we get along with each other within the Family? That is the loudest message to the world that the Gospel is true! It is so simple, but we like to complicate it don’t we? It reminds me of another group who did that. Do you remember who they were? The Pharisees! Jesus talked to them about it all the time!

They were the religious leaders of the day. They were the “good guys.” They had guarded doctrine so long and kept it carefully and neatly. ¬†They had it all categorized and followed all the rules…and Jesus came and condemned them and their rules and their self-righteousness!

It seems that He made everything simpler. In a way, He did. It is no longer a long list of rules to follow or complex religious system to join. We just come to Jesus and bring our empty needy selves…everyday, every minute. We realize we have nothing to offer Him…especially the ability to love those who are unloveable!

No, no, anything but love! It’s too hard.

Of all the things John could have told us encapsulated the Gospel to the world and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he chose the one that was the hardest of all! There is nothing splashy about it. In our day to day lives, we are to love those around us, other Christians in particular (but not exclusively).

It’s not that superficial, fake stuff. It’s the real thing! The kind of love that forgives when the other person is insensitive, doesn’t think they have done anything wrong, or is just miserable to deal with.

This love cares for people when we get to know their warts and we continue to love them anyway. Of course, it isn’t something we can generate on our own. Even the “want-to” has to come from Christ. There are people we just don’t want to enjoy or forgive or be around. But that isn’t our calling. Our calling is to love them.

Anything I do, no matter how grand, if not motivated by the love of Christ…worthless!

This passage in I Corinthians just underlines how important our loving of others is. Prophetic powers, speaking in tongues, knowledge, astounding faith, even giving our bodies for the sake of Christ…all are meaningless if it isn’t motivated by love, the love that only Christ can give us!

As we look around at our cities, our nation and the world, we see many places where the love of Christ is needed. We can offer it in tangible ways. It may come in the form of child care that is safe, or compassionate assistance where we come alongside those who need help, asking them what they see as their need and working together. Often, we just need it to survive living with our families!

What’s love got to do with it? Everything! If there is no love present, nothing of value has happened. Plain and simple…that’s the truth of it!

May GOD help us as we learn to love one another

and the world around us in the days to come.