This week is the second part of The Law of love. This week we’re going to be talking about loving others and with what’s going on around the country and the emotions we’re starting to deal with, loving others is one of the farthest things from some people's minds. So let’s see how we as Christians are supposed to respond to those around us.
' Jesus answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments. This is the first and most important commandment. '
Here’s the deal. The world wants us separated. I say the world but what I mean is Satan, the enemy, the deceiver, whatever you want to call him. I use the term “The World” because the world is what Jesus says we don’t belong to (John 15:19) and if we focus on it we lose sight of Him (Matthew 13:22). The world, through the media, politicians, and other leaders separates us. First by race, and it chops us up into little pieces; Black, White, Asian, Latino, Native Ameican, European American, African American. Then it separates us by income; high, middle, and low. Next comes region; north, south, northeast, midwest, California, Florida. Then by sexual orientation Gay, Straight, LGBTQ, Lesbian, Asexual. Then by religion; Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Eastern Orthodox, Baptist, Sikh, Buddhist, Bahai, Fundamentalist, Social Gospel. Finally by political party Republican or Democrat but mainly conservative or liberal, because everyone has to be one or the other in order to separate us.
Every time we are separated from the people around us, we lose a little bit of ourselves. Because of the walls we put up between us and the people we live near, most Christians are more willing to go serve in another country than they are to serve the people in their neighborhood. Separation creates fear, and where there is fear, there is no love. Paul says in Philippians 4,
'Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. '
How are we doing with that Peace that passes all understanding? If we are going to love our neighbors as ourselves, we can’t live in fear. One of the old cliches is that fear stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. We fear what we don’t know or don’t understand. The only way to get over our fear is to let God in to change us, and for us to move out into the world around us.
Where do we start?
The first place is to start by letting God love us so we can love ourselves, then love others. I talked about this last week so if you haven’t heard that episode you may want to listen to it too.
Anything that does not begin with prayer is probably not going to bear much fruit. We have to be willing to let God lead us and change us in order to get to an attitude of love. Each of the four groups I give below should be prayed over regularly in order to let God work. We can’t make ourselves do anything. The harder we try to be something the farther away from it we get. We can’t just will ourselves to love, we have to let God love through us.
Love Other Christians
1st John 4 directly addresses this,
'Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. '
As Christians, we are supposed to love other Christians. By doing this it shows God’s love and helps His love to be perfected in us. This isn’t talking about anyone outside the church. This is talking only about Christians.