[notice]A fortnightly column on marriage, family and relationships.[/notice]
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another — John 13:34-35
Have you ever noticed that when you are not feeling all that well and you are having one of those days when everything seems to be going wrong and you feel that nobody cares or even understands –that something unusual happens?
You get a phone call from a loved one that you have not spoken to in a while, or you get a random email that you might have ignored on any other day but on this day you just decide to read it — only to find out that it is exactly what you needed.
Or you get a whatsapp message that just speaks to you. I do not take any of these happenings lightly — especially when I feel particularly sad and it seems all that can go wrong is going wrong!!!!
Recently I was having one of those days and out of the blue a sister I had not spoken to in weeks, called me and we ended up chatting and laughing. That phone call left my spirit lighter and happier. I knew that God just loved me through her.
Do not dismiss it when you have a passing thought to call or to go visit somebody — especially if you have not been in contact with them in a while. It is God’s way of ministering to them and showing them love. God does not hug us physically but does use our arms to give somebody a hug.
He can use your smile to brighten somebody’s day. A lot of the time ministry is not opening a verse but practically loving people at their point of need. This practical gesture opens a door for someone to be more receptive to hear about the gospel later on.
In John 13 verse 34- 35 The Lord commands us to love one another. He said they will know that we are His disciples by our love for each other. A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another. Love never fails. He says as I have loved so also you must love one another. I meditated on that As I have loved you.
That is a deep statement because we see the Love of the Father all through His love letter to us, the Bible. God’s love amazes me!!! To think that THE CREATOR of the universe is concerned about my wellbeing. He is interested to know how I am. He wants to be involved in every aspect of my being.
I was having a conversation with a sister who put it right when she said God is a best friend forever — what today’s youth call a BFF!! As we discussed the love of God for us and tried to understand it, we began to think of all the amazing things that He is in our lives and all that He does for us.
The fact that He is everywhere with us and will never leave us nor forsake us — the fact that He loves us unconditionally. Can we ponder on that for just a minute, that there is nothing that you will ever do or say or think that will ever make God hate you. I am amazed by the limitless depth of His love.
He was willing to put His life on the line for me. He died a horrific death to save me. What manner of love is this? He does not ask you to pay for what He did because He paid it all. All He asks is that you believe in Him. In this “there is nothing for free” world that we live in, are you not glad that we do not have to pay for salvation?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. He was willing to die so that I will not perish…such love — John 3:16
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord — Romans 8:37-39.
Below I list 7 ways to love others as God loves:
- Ephesians 2:4-5 – But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved ….Be rich in mercy. During the course of your life, you will be wronged by many –sometimes in one day. Be rich in mercy, knowing that you also sin by what you say, do or think. When you have done wrong in the eyes of the Father, surely you would want Him to extend His hand of mercy.
- Luke 12:7 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Love gives attention. God knows even the number of hairs on our heads. Such detail. Who knows you to that extent? Although as a spouse you will never know your beloved to that level, do take time to learn about her or him. This is your precious gift from the Father. Study your spouse so you know him. It is when you know him that you can begin to know what makes him laugh — what makes him cry — what moves his heart. Love pays and gives attention.
- Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. We are all called to love one another but there are those special people in all our lives — your friends and family. Do not take them for granted. They are there for you through thick and thin. Some of them know you more than you know yourself. They know your weaknesses and have seen you at your worst but still love you. They have cheered you on when you did not believe in yourself enough to achieve your dreams. Love those who love you.
- Romans 5:8 — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Should people clean themselves up first to earn your love? Must they dust themselves off and polish themselves clean to be accepted by you? Our loved ones will not always do things that way we like, do the things that we like, or pursue the life that we want for them. They might turn out opposite to what we envisioned for them and might choose the life of sin. They might make decisions that go against the very fabric of what we hold dear. Would you still show love? We are called to love others the way God loves us even in our sin…
- Zephaniah 3:17 — The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing. Rejoice over people. I read somewhere that how you greet your children speaks volumes about how much you love them and it contributes to the way they see themselves. The writer advises smiling at your children when you see them walk through the door. Let them know that you are happy to see them. This is also true of adults. Nobody wants to be greeted by an angry face and voice when they get home. Rejoice over your loved ones.
- Psalm 86:15 – But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Be slow to anger. This is a challenge for most of us. In a world that operates in anger it is difficult to live a life that moves the opposite way. When the driver at the highway yells at you, when you do not get the service that you deserve at the till, when you are unfairly treated because of the colour of your skin or your gender or your religious affiliation — there are many things that can cause us to be justifiably angry, but our Father expects us to be like Him — be slow to anger.
- Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations. Be a person that your loved ones can depend on. They should always know that you will always love them no matter how much they mess up. There will be times when your spouse or child will feel that the whole world has turned their back on them. Even when the world turns their back they must have a parent whose steadfast love is always there for them to welcome them back home.
You and I know that no matter what God loves us. We can depend on His love in good and bad days. God is very intentional in the way He loves us and He loves us dearly. May that be known of us!
Love is intentional in its giving.