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Ways to Love - 8.7.2022 Bulletin

Ways to Love

For those who want to live as God’s word instructs, love needs to be evident in their lives. First, a love for God, followed by a love for other members of the body of Christ. But the kind of love God wants goes even further, we must love all mankind [Luke 10.27-28; Galatians 6.10]. The love God expects from His children is a love that seeks to do good to all, and brings about no ill toward any. Let’s consider some ways to love.

I. Listen without interrupting & answer without arguing

To interrupt a person who is speaking shows a lack of respect for what is being said. The person who does the interrupting thinks what they have to say is more important. To love is to be a good listener when someone comes to you wanting to talk. There are situations when listening is the only requirement and no response is needed. Some people like to take a conversation and make it about themselves, which offers no help to the person who needed someone to listen. Proverbs 18.2 says “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” [ESV]. If a response is needed, an appropriate answer can only be given after hearing all that was said. Proverbs 18.13 says, “He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him.”

We must give careful thought to our answers and present them in a non-argumentative way. James 1.19b calls on us to “be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” Also, Psalm 15.1 reminds us “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proper presentation goes a long way to ensuring the words we speak are well received, and not taken in a manner that will stir up anger.

II. Give without sparing

It is important for Christians to recognize how generous God is with His blessings. Therefore, to love is to extend generosity in the ways we are able. More often than not when a person thinks about giving their first thought is financially, but there are other ways we can give. Dedicating our time is a way to give to show our love for one another. Checking-in on or visiting those who are shut-in, sending cards, cooking meals, opening our homes for gatherings, are just a few of the ways we can give.“The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives” [Psalm 37.21]. Our giving should not be done expecting something in return or to gain some kind of angle, or done in a begrudging manner. Our giving should come from the heart because we represent Christ who said “it is more blessed to give than receive” [Acts 20.35].

III. Share the gospel without pretending

In Matthew 28.19-20 when Jesus is giving the great commission He said to “make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” Christ tasked His disciples with the responsibility of teaching the gospel, and the task remains true for disciples of Christ today. Ephesians 4.15 tells us to “speak the truth in love.” Our teaching of the gospel message should be genuine, and not for selfish gain. Caldwell in his commentary on Ephesians wrote “No Christian teaches the truth simply to win an argument or prove something about himself. Our love for others, not ourselves, will drive us to tell them about the Lord and teach them God’s word.” If our focus when sharing the gospel is to show off how much we know about the Bible, then our intent is misguided. Our focus needs to be on leading people away from sin and to Christ, that is how our love is shown.

IV. Trust without wavering

Putting our trust in other people can be difficult, in part because we have no control over how they act. Trust is built over time. The more someone proves reliable, the more we trust them. But for the Christian a way to love is to trust our fellowman, and especially the brethren, without hesitation. 1 Corinthians 13.7 says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” [ESV]. To believe all things sounds like a big task, but this verse isn’t saying Christians are to be a gullible people, and believe everything to the point we are easily taken advantage of. Willis in his commentary on 1 Corinthians writes, “Paul is saying that when love has no evidence to the contrary, it believes the best about its fellowman. It refuses to yield itself to unfounded suspicions and doubts; it grants the brother the benefit of every doubt…when love has no evidence, it believes the best, and when evidence is adverse, it hopes for the best.”

V. Forgive without punishing

Similar to trust, forgiveness can also be difficult. Sometimes the wounds people inflict can cut deep. The Christian can show love through forgiveness, and not punishing the person asking for forgiveness. Colossians 3.13b, “just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” We must forgive regardless of how many times forgiveness is sought, even if it comes from the same person over and over again [Matthew 18.21-22]. Our forgiveness must be genuine and complete. We cannot say we forgive someone, and then hold a grudge against the person or hold the wrongdoing over their head. Once forgiveness is reached, we move on.

The life of a Christian is one of growth, we are works in progress. Developing Christian characteristics like love take time. It is important to remember what Peter wrote in his second epistle regarding the Christian virtues which include love. “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” [1.8]. May we each day work on our Christian character to remain useful disciples of Christ.

 

Editors Note; Main headings for the article were taken from a list “10 Ways to Love” that I found on the bulletin board at a relatives house.

 

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