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What is love?

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What is love in terms of being a Christian? Christians should be all about loving others, but it sometimes looks like it’s the thing we struggle to do most. People can be tough to deal with most times, so it’s not always easy to love them. Attributes like selfishness and self-centredness are easier to practice than being generous or considerate. The word “love” is mentioned over 300 times in the Bible (the exact count can vary depending on the translation). The essential point is that love matters to God.

The greatest love

As believers, the greatest example of love was God sending His only Son to take on His wrath on our behalf. God’s display of love for us as His children has set the blueprint for how we should love one another. Now before you lose your marbles over that thought. The suggestion is not that you lay down your life to be crucified for the sake of others. Instead, the encouragement is for you to walk like Jesus did pre-Crucifixion. The New Testament is filled with wonderful stories of how Jesus loved.

Love like Jesus

To live like Jesus, you need to love like Jesus. He gave us a stunning representation of what it looks like to fellowship with others. Furthermore, He showed us what it looks like to see people who are often overlooked and to care for those in need. Jesus had integrity, dignity, and exceptional character traits. Even when he would correct others, he didn’t love them less.

He hated the sin but loved the sinner. Safe to say, it’s a tall order to walk the Jesus walk. However, there is a great reward in pursuing it regardless of our imperfections. One could say it’s obvious Jesus differed from others and disagreed with their ways. It may have been a challenge to deal with some difficult people too. Like the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Yet even amid messy interactions, He corrected and loved well. He was perfect. Hence, our lives are pieced together more beautifully when we aspire to live by His principles.

The speck in another’s eye

Sadly, one of our downfalls occurs when we see the speck of dust in another’s eye but fail to see the log in our own.  In other words, sometimes, our love for others is blocked by us focusing on and condemning them for what we perceive as their faults. For example, the content of self-appointed rebukers on social media shows how hateful some believers can be.

Unfortunately, people filled with distasteful hate cannot attempt to correct others without causing some harm. Or worse, influencing negativity in both believers and nonbelievers. Throughout the Bible, Jesus loves, but he isn’t a pushover. Additionally, he corrects sternly, yet he doesn’t harm. His rebukes are rooted in love, and His words are measured.

Bear with one another

The Bible advises that we bear with one another, indicating God knew we’d likely get on each other’s nerves. Furthermore, we become judgey. The Word teaches us how to correct one another with love and hold each other accountable. However, we see a lack of compassion on social media when folks who profess Christianity spew harsh words and condemnation through their opinions. Some go beyond Bible bashing to being plain ol’ mean.

Finally, we ought to exhort our brethren to get back to Bible basics to learn how to love well, even when feeling offended by how others behave. Remember, it’s ok to have differences and to disagree with people, but it’s never ok to trash and condemn them. Our words are to be rooted in love. That is, rooted in God. The Word.

For more insight on many different topics, check out our lifestyle blog or listen to a podcast on iono.fm. Watch the video with Given and Kelitha as they discuss this topic. calloused Christians.

Written by: Dineo Phadimenyane

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