That Crazy Thing Called Love

13 03 2010

“I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning” (2 John 1:5 NLT).

Every Christian should know that we are to love one another, but Christian love can be tricky. Five verses later John tells us:

“If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement.  Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work” (2 John 1:10-11 NLT).

These “evil workers” are certainly enemies of Christ. Even so Jesus tells us to “… love your enemies! [Bless those who curse you. Do good to those who hate you.] Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:44 NLT).

Later Jesus tells us in matters of conflict to personally confront the individual and then says, “If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector” (Matthew 18:17 NLT).

 So, how are we to treat pagans and corrupt tax collectors differently than beloved ones?


Conditional Acceptance

9 09 2008

          Every Christian is to radiate one great quality… love. We are to love God, our neighbors as ourselves, fellow believers, and even our enemies. Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).

          There is a problem, however, in understanding what it really means to love biblically. Surely the best examples of love are to be found in Jesus and God. The Bible says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8).

          If God is love (and He is) then everything He does is consistent with love (biblical love). That means God’s judgment and stance against sin and unrighteousness is a loving stance. Think about that for a moment. It is just on this point that many people get confused.

          There is a tendency to equate love with unconditional acceptance these days. In other words, some think that to love means to totally accept a person regardless of what they are or do. But that is not biblical love. That is a worldly twisting of biblical love into a monstrous embrace of paganism. That is surely not what believers are called to do.

          God loves everyone, but He doesn’t accept everyone just as they are. In fact, the Bible is quite clear, if people stay just as they are they will die in their sins and go to hell.

          Turn it round this way, if love meant accepting everyone just as they are then Jesus didn’t have to die on the cross because everyone was already totally and unconditionally accepted by God. Clearly this was not the case.

         In a way, to teach that love means “unconditional acceptance” is to imply that God is less than loving.