Love is. . .
Nehemiah 9:17 you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.
Isaiah 54:10 “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord who has compassion on you.
Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs.
Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act
Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Matt 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ’Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. . . . If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that. . . ( great verse to read and live by)
Luke 6:27-36 (again, too long for me to write out, but a great verse to keep in mind when dealing with others, and I think we remember better when we look them up and are touched by them.)
Corinthians 16:14 Let all that you do be done in love.
1 Timothy 1:5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
Romans 12:9-10 Love must be sincere Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love Honor one another above yourselves.
Mark 12:30-31, 33 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is not commandment greater than these.” . . . and to love your neighbor as yourself is more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Sometimes we find it is difficult to care about others. Perhaps a person hurts your feelings and repeats the offense even after you have tried to point out the offense. Maybe it is just a person you find crass and arrogant. We all have run-ins with people who can ruffle us, hurt our feelings, be blunt and haughty. Certainly, I do not know many who cannot give several examples of times they have had run-ins with others who have made us wonder if we can get past and truly love the offender.
But we are supposed to grow enough in God’s love for us, that we can be slammed by others and still love them. That is who Jesus is/was/ and continues to be. And that is what and who He wants us to grow, to become. It is a process, and the Holy Spirit is actively guiding our steps. Jesus loved the people, all the people who came to follow Him, to listen to Him, to be fed by Him. He was a curiosity of the time, and people flocked to see Him so they could share their own story of what He had done/said.
Everyone has curiosity about the new novelty—a new band, comedian, movie, and many will flock to that in a rush. Obviously, in our time, things are so different. We are hearing about things before they even appear for sale. Advertisements tease about the newest band, the newest movie, actor, the newest, and then must be best, video game or whatever. But news of new gadgets or whatever reach us FAST because of social media, cell phones, internet, televisions, and so forth.
But then, things were heard and passed on in a much slower manner. People walked from town to town, and so did the news of the day. It was rare that one had donkey or camel to travel faster, so it took time for new things and information to spread. But once it had begun to spread about Jesus, it caused a bit of a ruckus. His siblings were embarrassed and upset, He was upsetting the Pharisees and not acting at all as the loving brother they had known and lived with for years. Now, He had separated from them, gathered twelve strangers and were saying all sorts of strange things: as well as supposedly doing these strange miracles. He had no abilities to heal, to preach, to teach really that they were aware of. And the brothers at least, were a little miffed, ‘you have the skill to do finer work as a carpenter than we do, and we need you here.’ But He did not return to the family home and take up the role of the eldest son and help with the family business.
They thought He was a bit crazy and were embarrassed, irritated. They did not want to hear of His sayings, and the crazy things folks said they saw Him doing or heard Him saying.
Yet it was pertinent that Jesus show His followers love, care, He healed their diseases, demon possessions and freed them, and encouraged them to sin no more. He quoted the Old Testament because he and His Father and the Spirit led some humans to write their words, their ideas, their commands. Basically, ‘Love the Lord your God, and Him only; have no other gods before you.’ Avoid your selfish desires and stay obedient to God.
We are the problem. We are selfish, self-centered, and then choose disobedience and because we get an immediate answer to something we think we want, need, or must have. But it is not in line with what God’s plan is for us. Humans have issues with impatience, greed, self-lying (‘well, I will only do this the one time; it’s not like I do this all the time. God will overlook this one mistake.’)
But that is not God’s way. And He looks past LOTS of mistakes. But He wants us to be obedient and avoid things that will hurt us because of our greed, selfishness, jealousy, lust, and wants us to choose (yes, He gave us free choice)-to choose to obey Him and avoid things that will hurt us, or He has told us omit.
His Son, our Savior, came and lived and showed us how to act, how to love, how to demonstrate love. He showed love to each person He encountered. The people felt that, experienced His love, His forgiveness, His healing and were overjoyed. He gave of Himself freely, at times at great cost to Himself, being exhausted, needing time alone with His Father, awakening early in the mornings so He could have time without the disciples there vying for Him, and He needed ‘the rest that surpasses all understanding.’
In all His ministry here, He showed unselfishness, called out wrong behavior, healed and encouraged no further sinning, and He showed no prejudice to those who were looked down on—the poor, the Samaritans, the dirty, the ill and severely wounded. He gave to all freely, full of love and compassion. He showed how He wanted others to live. He showed how to love. And that was His prime message—love and obey His Father, and love others as they loved themselves—they should love freely and openly, not selfishly.
Still, more than two thousand years later, we are ALL still dealing with our selfish, self-centered natures, and our prejudices, judgments, and not freely and graciously loving others. We need to go back to His example—and to read about God’s love daily.
Thank You for Your Word and the examples of Your love and Your Son’s life for the brief time of His ministry. Thank You for being patient as I walk and grow for me and ‘mybellaviews.’