Perfect Love by Scarlett Stough

We love the idea of love. We want to be loved, to be considered loveable. As followers of Christ, as Christians, we want to be known as loving people. We talk a lot about love; but do we really practice the love Jesus taught?

Our consciences must tell us the answer is "No"; we do not perfectly love as Jesus loves. But there is hope for us. In Christ we are made perfect (Hebrews 10:14; Colossians 1:28). We have been given the responsibility to nurture the love produced by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

These responsibilities are:

  • Love God
  • Love our neighbor, our brother, and our enemy

How do we love God?

  • Obey his commands, 1 John 2:4-6
  • Love other people, 1 John 4:11

How do we love other people?

  • Practice the qualities of love listed in 1 Corinthians 13:4-13
  • Do no harm, Romans 13:8-10
  • Share our material possessions with those who are hungry and homeless, Matthew 25:34-40
  •  Encourage one another to love and good deeds, Hebrews 10:24-25
  • Comfort one another as we have been comforted, 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:11-12

Jesus never intended for his love to be confined to a small body of his followers. He intended his love to be shared across differences of all types. Jesus' example and teaching is one of initiating love toward even those who hate him and hate us.

What does this love look like? For one thing, love does no harm. Love does not trivialize someone else's feelings. We don't withhold good to someone whose life's choices are not biblical. Judgment and sentencing others is not the job of a Christian. Judgment belongs to God. Yes, we must discern between good and evil and choose to do good ourselves. But we are not to be the ones doing the persecuting.

When we are instructed to "weep with those who weep," should we decide whether or not they are worthy of our sharing in their grief? Instead let us empathize, putting ourselves in their shoes.

Love does require we speak the truth, but we are told to do so in gentleness and respect (2 Timothy 2:23-26; Ephesians 4:15).

Volume 15 Issue 6 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation

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