Mother’s Day: Honoring Moms,Teaching the Next Generation ‘The Noblest and Most Precious Work’

May 10, 2019 By John Stonestreet

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On Mother’s Day, most of us take intentional time and effort to show our moms how much we love and appreciate them, and how much we’re thankful for their love and sacrifice. I’m not always as intentional as I should be about honoring the moms in my life, especially the one who gave me life and the one who’s currently doing the really heavy lifting caring for our kids.

But especially in this cultural moment, Christians should be the first, not only to honor current mothers, but also to celebrate and encourage future mothers.

Andrea Burke, writing at For the Church, suggests that we’re not always very good at this. As a result, for too many young Christians, cultural attitudes toward motherhood are setting the tone. And it’s not a positive tone.

Burke calls motherhood “the one life dream that makes a girl blush.” In her work directing her church’s women’s ministry, Burke regularly sits down with single, young women to talk about the future. They often confess that although they could pursue further education or a successful career in any number of fields, what many of them want is to get married and raise a family.

By Burke’s account, these young women are smart and accomplished. They don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Still, they regularly talk as if choosing to be a wife and mom is a silly cop-out—somehow a waste of their lives. “When a 21-year-old sits across the table from me and tells me that she wants to be a mother,” Burke writes, “she blushes and gives a thousand caveats as to why she knows it’s not the optimal choice.”

Where do young women get this low view of motherhood? Well, look around. According to a New York Times article last year, the average age at which women become mothers is now at a record high—30 or older in some parts of the country. The Times reported this as if it were a good thing, talking up the wonders of a “fulfilling career” and all-but-openly suggesting that the only reason any woman would have children young is because she couldn’t achieve the ideal professional life, and needs a substitute rite of passage to adulthood.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the average birth rate failed to rebound after the Great Recession, and now sits at a rock-bottom 1.77 children per woman on average—that’s down over 16 percent from a decade ago.

So now there’s a gap in our culture between the number of children women want to have, and the number they end up having.

The Times explains, “it’s unlikely any future baby boom will be able to fully offset the baby bust of the last 10 years.” This means that “millennial women are likely to experience the largest shortfall in achieved fertility verses their stated family desires of any generation in a long time … .”

What does all this have to do with young women embarrassed about wanting to become mothers? Well, they need honesty from us—specifically from their parents, that whatever society says about the wonders of a successful career, they’re statistically likely to regret prioritizing promotions over parenthood.

At BreakPoint.org, my colleague Shane Morris recently wrote a beautiful letter to his six-year-old daughter, in which he encouraged her to think of marriage and motherhood as callings worth pursuing, not as afterthoughts. Shane described how his daughter already is in the habit of tucking her little brother’s trucks to bed. Shane is right in seeing in those nurturing instincts things worth celebrating and cultivating.

His letter reminded me of Martin Luther’s praise for nurturing tendencies in his commentary on Genesis: “How becomingly even little girls carry infants in their arms,” he wrote. “And how appropriate are the gestures with which mothers dandle the little ones when they hush a crying infant or lay it in the cradle … .” Elsewhere he says: “In all the world this is the noblest and most precious work.”

If you’ve got daughters (like I do) or granddaughters or even nieces, proudly tell these young women that if motherhood is their dream, they’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.

John Stonestreet is President of The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and BreakPoint co-host.

https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/john-stonestreet/mothers-day-honoring-moms-teaching-next-generation-noblest-and-most

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VIDEO Love Lessons

May 4, 2019

 

With countless songs, books, and movies dedicated to love, you would think we actually understood what it means. But the world has warped our view of God’s most precious attribute, leaving humanity longing for the real thing. In this message, Dr. Stanley teaches us what love really is and how it affects our lives. Learn how your life can be transformed when you allow God’s love to wrap around you and flow through you to others.

KEY PASSAGE: 1 John 4:7-11

SUPPORTING SCRIPTURE: John 3:16

SUMMARY

Do you believe God loves you?

We are all very familiar with John 3:16, which clearly states that because God loved the world, He sent His Son so those who believe in Him would never perish. We usually think of God’s love as generally applying to everyone, but maybe not specifically to us personally. However, the Lord wants us to know we’re loved by Him and to love Him in return. Only then will we be able to give and receive love in our relationships as He desires.

SERMON POINTS

To understand how important love is to God, we need only look at His Word. In the Old Testament there are 250 mentions of love, and the New Testament uses love 234 times—and of those, 72 are found in John’s gospel and epistles.

In 1 John 4:7-11, the apostle John mentions love in every verse.
[7] Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
[8] The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
[9] By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
[10] In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
[11] Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Love Lessons

Since love is such an essential part of our lives, we need to understand what it truly is.

  1. Love is more than an emotion. It’s a commitment to another person.
  2. Love is not free. It actually demands something of us. We can’t live for ourselves in isolation and at the same time love someone else.
  3. Love looks beyond the flesh. Its focus is the heart and spirit of a person, not the external appearance. The connection is both emotional and cerebral, not merely a physical attraction.
  4. Lust has nothing to do with genuine love. Our world has substituted lust for love, and this has become very obvious in the sexual revolution, which is still continuing to this day. Lust is focused on self—what I want or need from the other person. But love is concerned for the loved one—what I can do for him or her.
  5. Love cannot be bought. It’s a gift that is given freely, and one that is received without cost.
  6. Love desires to give with no strings attached. It doesn’t demand that the other person be a certain way or do what is desired before love is given. Genuine love is freely bestowed without qualifications or requirements.
  7. Love is generous and unselfish. True love is othercentered, not self-centered. It’s always looking for ways to give, not ways to get.
  8. Love is more fulfilled in giving than in receiving. Those who genuinely love others find great satisfaction in generously giving to them. They are especially gratified when they can supply what someone else really needs or desires.
  9. Love is forgiving. Carrying the weight of anger, resentment, bitterness, or jealousy chokes a person’s spirit and hinders the ability to truly love others.
  10. Love desires to express itself. Love is demonstrative and must be expressed. When God’s love is in us, it flows out in sacrificial giving.
  11. Love is a happy emotion. The happiest people are not those who have everything money can buy, but those who know how to love.
  12. Love enjoys seeing others happy.That’s because the focus is not on getting for self but in sacrificing for others. In seeing the pleasure others experience, there is great enjoyment.
  13. Love is fulfilling and enables us to feel complete. When we know how to give and receive love, it gives us a sense of completeness, competence, and worthiness.
  14. Love hurts when others hurt.Genuine love is characterized by compassion and mercy expressed either through direct interaction or more distantly through prayer.
  15. Love does not keep accounts. There is no record of who did what for whom. Love is not a matter of paying and receiving, but of giving without expectation of return.
  16. Love may be very painful. This is especially true if the love isn’t mutual. It may require repeated forgiveness.
  17. Love doesn’t require anything in return. There are no conditions or requirements placed on the other person before love is freely given.
  18. Love is patient. It waits until the proper time, whereas lust wants immediate gratification. If ultimatums are given, it’s not genuine love.
  19. Christ’s death on the cross is the perfect example of love. Jesus came into the world He loved to give His life as a ransom for sin, yet few people loved Him in return. When we continue to love unresponsive, ungrateful people, we are following Christ’s example. This is possible because after we accept Him as our Savior and Lord, He pours His love into our hearts, enabling us to love others no matter how ugly they behave toward us.
  20. Love is its own reward. Knowing that we are loved by God and being able to love Him in return is an amazing blessing. It sustains us when we feel forsaken and unloved by others. And if loved ones die or leave us, we have a Friend who will never desert us.

Love isn’t found in advice from magazines, books, or people. God is the source through Jesus Christ, His Son, and the place to look is the Bible. It begins with accepting the death of Jesus Christ on the cross as the greatest act of love ever shown. He died to pay our sin debt in full. And when we believe in Him and repent of our sins, all the mess we’ve made of our lives is washed away. Our sins are forgiven, and God will remember them no more.

Now His love is poured out in our hearts, enabling us to love Him in return and to receive and give love to others. If we don’t have Christ and His love in us, our lives are empty, and we are poor, needy, and wretched. The only One who can satisfy our longings is the One who died for us on the cross. His love for us is beyond all explanation and human comprehension.

RESPONSE

  • Do you feel loved by God? Why or why not? What does God’s Word say about His love for you (See Romans 5:8 and 8:36-39)?
  • Are you able to give love, or is something hindering you from expressing it freely to others? What hope do you find in 1 Thessalonians 4:9?

https://www.intouch.org/watch/expressing-godly-character/love-lessons

My Son Needed the Love of the Church. I Wasn’t Sure It Was Possible

Including the cognitively disabled in ministry is a chance to live in a cross-shaped way.

May 8, 2019 by JENNIFER BROWN JONES

My Son Needed the Love of the Church. I Wasn’t Sure It Was Possible.

“NO! I NOT QUIET!” The meltdown began—of course—just as the prayer was starting. My husband grabbed our son Mischa’s hand and left the sanctuary, as quickly and quietly as possible. It wasn’t quiet. I have no idea what the worship leader was praying, but my own desperate cry had become almost rote: “Lord, I can’t do this. Help. I’m so tired. I don’t remember not being tired. I can’t do this.” The lights came up and people began greeting one another. I took a breath, preparing to apologize. Again. We wouldn’t be able to come back to this church.

Church. It’s where we should be most loved. It’s where my son should feel most loved, accepted, and wanted. But it isn’t. And the very idea that I could bring my special needs son into an actual worship service was a joke, even if it was just for the music and prayer. I don’t even know why we tried. “God, you’re moving us here, but there aren’t any churches with special needs programs. How are we going to make this work?” This time, though, God’s answer wasn’t “wait and see” but “look and see.” We weren’t going to make it work. He was going to show us how people who don’t just tell his story but also live his story are not just transformed themselves but become agents of transformation in the lives of those around them. God and his people would make it work.

Most Christ-followers will agree that God’s church isn’t really a building. It’s the people that God has called and redeemed; it’s a community of people that he is transforming into the image of his Son. Sounds good, but how many of us are actually being transformed and how many of us have experienced the fruit of our own transformation or that of those around us? What does it look like to be transformed into the image of Jesus?

Living cruciform lives

Throughout the New Testament we see a portrait of Jesus that, if we allow it to, will force us to rethink our understanding of God. Jesus subverts our expectations, just as he did 2,000 years ago. He shows us that true divinity, God himself, is fundamentally self-sacrificing, self-emptying, self-humbling, and self-giving or what New Testament scholar Michael Gorman calls “cruciform” (cross-shaped). In Philippians 2 Paul uses a hymn to describe Jesus’ character, calling believers, then and now, to share in it:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

It sounds beautiful, poetic even. For many this passage is familiar, but when was the last time we allowed ourselves to be confronted by its call? These verses include what Gorman describes as the pattern of Jesus’ life and character. Although Jesus had a certain status (“equality with God”), he didn’t choose selfishness (“his own advantage”) but rather selflessness (“made himself nothing” and “humbled himself”).

It is sometimes too easy to simply marvel at what Jesus has done and miss the call to do likewise: have the same mindset; don’t look out for yourself; humble yourself; put others first. Don’t just tell Jesus’ story, live it. Don’t just narrate the gospel, embody it. Like Jesus, our lives are to be cross-shaped, demonstrating a sacrificial focus on the needs and well-being of others. When we, as members of God’s church, take Paul’s instructions seriously, focusing on others and forgetting about our own power and achievement, we not only truly reflect the image of the God that we worship, we become people that he uses in the lives of others here and now. We don’t have to wait for the new heaven and the new earth.

Such a community sounds beautiful, or at least the concept does. But if we’re honest—if I’m honest—too often we aren’t like Jesus. We are more like that old Dostoyevsky quote: “The more I love humanity in general the less I love man in particular.” So how do we live a cruciform life? While it may seem obvious, the first part of the answer is to be involved in the community of believers; Paul assumes believers in the Philippian church have relationships with one another. He’s instructing them on how they are to act in these relationships. Yes, this way of life will spill over beyond the church, but it starts inside of it.

Just building relationships with other believers isn’t enough, though. The church isn’t a social club. It is a community of people who are cross-shaped, retelling and reliving the self-giving and self-sacrificing life of Jesus. They are enabled to do so as each individual and the community as a whole are molded by the Holy Spirit into Christ’s image. Believers are being transformed into cross-shaped individuals through the work of the Spirit. Christ-followers have to cooperate with the Spirit’s transformative work, though, by reflecting on and identifying with this pattern: Although we may have rights, we are called not to take advantage of them. Instead we are to place the needs of others ahead of our own. Here, in our death to self—our death to personal priorities and our death to personal ambitions—we experience the paradoxical way that God brings life out of death.

The challenge of L’Arche

While he doesn’t use the words cruciform or cruciformity, Jean Vanier’s life and writings gave us a vivid portrait of what such a cross-shaped life looks like and prepares us for our own journeys. In 1964 Vanier founded L’Arche, an organization that creates homes where people with intellectual disabilities live together in a covenant community with typically abled assistants. While L’Arche itself is not explicitly Christian, Vanier’s life and work have been fundamentally motivated by his desire to follow Jesus by living out the gospel as a source of healing, love, trust, friendship, and reconciliation in a world of injustice, pain, and brokenness. Here, in Vanier’s life, we see the way in which a cross-shaped life that relives Jesus’ story spills over into our wider communities.

For Vanier, the beatitudes are at the heart of L’Arche, pointing us to the sometimes-hidden beauty found in the intellectually disabled, a beauty that can be seen in their capacity for life and growth, as well as in their openness to God. He believed that they have the gift of better understanding the Beatitudes and more closely living them out. In The Scandal of Service and The Challenge of L’Arche, Vanier described the roles of the assistants who live in L’Arche communities as not only offering physical support but, more importantly, loving those whom Vanier describes as weak, helping them to grow, to develop, to discover their beauty, and to find the meaning of their lives. Vanier believed God has a prophetic call on the lives of those who are differently abled, one that is often seen in their very ability to live life more simply, in humility, and with love and receptivity to God.

Like Paul’s portrait of Jesus in Philippians 2, Vanier’s portrait of life with the cognitively disabled is heart-achingly beautiful until we get into the nitty-gritty of what it looks like on the ground. Living with those who are differently abled requires us to let go of our self-focus and self-reliance. We have to grow in our willingness to understand people who are different, to share with them, and to sacrifice on their behalf. It is a life that confronts us with our own brokenness and poverty of spirit—our impatience, our self-absorption, our anger, and our insufficiency. In life with the intellectually disabled, we learn that we are the weak ones. Those who are supposedly “disabled” are our teachers. It is here, when we finally welcome our weakness, need, and shortcomings, that we meet Jesus.

Not everyone is called to daily life with the intellectually disabled, but they live around us and among us, as do their families. How do we engage with them on the street and in our churches? Our responses matter, because they hold the potential to embody the healing and love of God’s self-sacrifice. When we tell a parent their autistic daughter is no longer welcome in our youth group because she is too disruptive, are we living out Jesus’ love and sacrifice? Are we focusing on the needs of the “able” and “strong” at the expense of another one of Jesus’ children? Perhaps this beautiful—yes, beautiful—young woman is a crucial part of God’s transformative work. As she learns of her inherent value and beauty, finding love and acceptance, she may also help those around her to be transformed into the self-sacrificing, cross-shaped image of Jesus that is more concerned for others than self. Perhaps this young woman is there to teach the rest of us about who we really are (the broken) and what we really need (the transformative work of the Spirit).

Being confronted with weakness and failure isn’t for the faint of heart. We have to choose to cooperate with the Spirit’s work, staying in the difficult places and relationships. But when we recognize, accept, and then integrate our own weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and brokenness into our lives, God brings healing. It is here where we meet Jesus, for it is only when we welcome our own weakness, need, poverty, and insufficiency that we are able to welcome him. Then, as we encounter Jesus, we become agents of healing for those around us.

Becoming a little more like Jesus

“I’m so sorry!” I told the people around me. They just looked and smiled, telling me not to worry about it. I froze for a moment. One lady commented, smiling, “You’re doing the best you can; so is he.” What? I wasn’t being judged, condemned, and found wanting? And then someone we had met on our way in came up to me. He gently placed his hand on my shoulder and asked, “What can we do to make things easier for him and for you?” Tears welled up. No one had ever asked me that unless they were being paid. Maybe we couldcome back to this church.

Less than a year later, we had not only become regular attendees but also involved members. As we have taken steps to support others in our new community, sometimes sacrificially, we have seen how God works. We’ve seen it when we’ve gone to what was supposed to be a small group meeting and were told that we had a night free to go out to dinner while fellow church members watched our son. We’ve seen it in the way that our campus pastor has stood singing while holding Mischa, who knows without a doubt that he is not just accepted; he is loved. We’ve seen it in the way that one of the regular greeters made Mischa an official member of the welcome team with his own nametag. Each of these acts may seem small, but the sum of many small acts is far greater than the individual parts.

We don’t bear our burdens alone; our joys and sorrows are shared. We have no doubt that our son is welcome. We are welcome. In this place where we are supported and loved. God has enabled us to begin serving others instead of merely trying to survive. Our family has found love, acceptance, and healing. But perhaps the moment where God taught me the most was when a visitor walked into the sanctuary carrying a dandelion. She was beaming and smilingly told me that this beautiful boy outside had made her feel so loved and welcome; he’d given her this flower and a great big smile.

Yes. That was my son. The one who still occasionally has meltdowns during the music or prayer. The one who knows he is safe and loved. And I’m still the mom who struggles and who needs to welcome her own brokenness. But we’re all making progress. We’re each becoming a little more like Jesus and seeing how God brings life, healing, and love among people who not only tell Jesus’ story but relive it in their everyday lives.

Jennifer Brown Jones is a PhD candidate in Christian theology (Old Testament) at McMaster Divinity College and adjunct faculty at Ecclesia College. Her research focuses on the Psalter, the Minor Prophets, and the intersection of Christian life with disability studies. She attends Capital Church in Park City, Utah. You can learn more about her personal journey and read her recent reflection about Jean Vanier on her website: https://jenniferbrownjones.com

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/may-web-only/cross-shaped-living-with-cognitively-disability-vanier.html

VIDEO Godly Christian Living in Evil Times

June 14, 2016 BY AMERICAN COUNCIL OF CHRISTIAN CHURCHES

 

Few will deny that we are living in evil times. The enemy has “come in like a flood.” Every perversion imaginable to sinful man is now promoted as “good” or “normal.” Basic standards of morality and decency, which once prevailed in the United States, now have been largely abandoned. Sadly, as our society’s culture has sunk further into the swamp of moral degeneracy, a love for the world has eroded the standards of many Christians, which were once grounded upon the teachings of God’s Word. Selections of music, entertainment, clothing, and other choices necessary to godly living have become more similar to and less distinct from those of the lusts of the world.  Many of God’s people lack a zeal for putting a cultural difference between the clean and the unclean (Lev. 20:22-26).

The true child of God must reject and resist such worldliness.  The Bible warns that the world in which we live is in an important sense the domain of the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2). What God has ordained for life in this world, Satan has sought to corrupt.  For this reason, Paul warns in Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

1 John 2:15-17 commands us to “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”  To love the world in this sense is to fail to love the Father.  To conform to the cultural norms produced by this lack of love for the Father is to communicate a similar lack of love for Him.

Some justify a greater conformity to the world by divorcing what is in the heart of a Christian from his outward appearance and actions. God indeed told Samuel: “for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). However, what is in the heart will always manifest itself outwardly. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil” (Luke 6:45). Paul is concerned with both the transformation of the mind and the consecration of the body to holiness (Rom. 12:2).  Matthew Henry, in commenting on the holy behavior of older Christian women in Titus 2:3, says that Christians should have “an inward principle and habit of holiness, influencing and ordering the outward conduct at all times.”

God has commanded us: “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16). The Scripture is clear about the fruit of true holiness in the child of God: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23). This fruitful holiness produced by God’s Spirit is antithetical to worldliness, the works of a flesh that produces both sinful desires and a wicked walk (Gal. 5:16-21).  Cultural choices are included among the works of the flesh.  Any music, clothing, entertainment, speech, or other cultural choice promoting fruitful holiness must not be conformed to styles developed to promote the worldliness of 1 John 2:15-17. This mandate applies equally to our personal lives and our corporate worship.  Our love for the Father provides powerful motivation for careful conservatism that draws a clear line well-removed from the gray of compromise in this regard.

Therefore, the American Council of Christian Churches, at its 71st Annual Convention, October 23-25, 2012, in the Cedar View Independent Methodist Church, Kingsport, Tennessee, affirms the need for all Bible-believing churches and individual Christians to separate from conformity to the cultural norms produced by this world’s love for possessions, pleasures, and pride.  As children determined to love our heavenly Father faithfully, we commit ourselves to the promotion and practice of consistently conservative, godly Christian living, regulated by cultural standards that demonstrate the distinctiveness of our calling as pilgrims and strangers in a world ruled by “the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience.”  It is our desire that in every area of our lives, the change that has called us “out of darkness into His marvelous light” would be seen plainly by others in a way that will “glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:9-12).

Picture: https://pixabay.com/en/hills-flowering-desert-flowers-960106/

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Psalm 91:1-66

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, …


Derek Prince – Evil Forces At the End Time


Love One Another

Bible Verses On Loving Others

  • Matthew 5:43-44 NIV
     “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…”
  • Mark 12:29-31 NLT
    Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
  • John 13:34 NIV
    A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
  • John 15:12-13  NLT
    This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
  • Romans 13:8 NLT
    Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:1 NIV
    If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV
    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
  • Ephesians 4:2 NLT
    Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
  • Ephesians 4:31-32
    “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
  • 1 John 3:18
    Dear children, let us not love with words or speech b1john4ut with actions and in truth.
  • 1 Peter 1:22 NLT
     You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.
  • 1 John 4:7-8 NIV
    Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
  • 1 John 4:11 NIV
    Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
  • 1 John 4:19-21 NIV
     We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Bible Verses on Loving Others

When You Talk About “Hate,” How Do You Define “Love”?

Few words get thrown around as commonly, or as cheaply, as the words “love” and “hate.”

As someone who sometimes points out truths that others may not want to hear, I often find myself being called a “hater.” As a Christian, I am occasionally accused of having “a hate-filled religion.”

The problem with this is that I don’t actually hate anyone. By that I mean, basically, that I don’t wish harm upon anyone. Shoot, I don’t even call people nasty names.

More to the point, there is no aspect of Christianity – a connection with the Creator for which “religion” is a wholly inadequate word – that would call for a person to hate anyone else. Quite the opposite, in fact; the Bible clearly tells us to love others. The only things it tells us to hate are evil and harmful things – i.e., things that would more commonly be called “sinful” if doing so wasn’t so strongly discouraged.

Of course, while the Bible tells those who follow Christ not to hate others, it also warns them that they will be hated in the non-Christian world. Now, I was aware of this from my earliest days as a Christian. Even so I have to say I didn’t quite grasp, until relatively recently, just how deep and irrational that hatred of Christians could be.

It’s downright ironic, frankly, that those would call someone like me a “hater” would demonstrate such vicious hate themselves. Many a person has spoken or written of truths they have learned as a Christian, and has received the most violent and ugly responses imaginable.

Now, there are plenty of people who would be called “religious” (or at least “conservative”), and yet who use harsh language, call others nasty names, and behave aggressively and confrontationally. I don’t recall ever encountering anyone like that in person, but they can certainly be found all over the Internet. If you want to call such people “haters,” you won’t get any argument from me.

But it seems to me that the conservative or “religious” people who get labeled “haters” the most loudly and insistently are not the nasty and aggressive ones. Rather, they’re usually those who simply tell the truth about certain things, and do so politely, respectfully and without malice. They will get the vilest slurs and accusations, and even death threats, thrown at them – by people who, incredibly, believe that they themselves are not “haters.”

I have to wonder how those expressing such hate can dare to accuse anyone else of “hatefulness.” I’d also like to know how such people would define “love” – and I’d like to know what kind of “love” they would claim to be practicing themselves.

It’s long been common for people to talk about the importance of “love,” the power of “love,” and so on. All we need is “love”! “Love” can change the world! But what do people really think “love” means when they talk this way?

Someone once told me that their definition of “love” boiled down to one simple concept: “Don’t hurt anyone.” That sounds fine if you don’t think about it too hard. The problem is that people tend to define “not hurting anyone” – and, therefore, “love” – to suit their own self-serving purposes. For example, a great deal of harm in the world is done by irresponsible sexuality. But people want to engage in it anyway, so they convince themselves that doing so “doesn’t hurt anyone.” They also pretend that encouraging others to engage in it is “loving,” and that discouraging it would be “hateful.”

It’s been said that the opposite of love isn’t hate, but rather indifference. I think there’s a lot of truth to that. To be unloving toward someone doesn’t necessarily mean you’re angry at them, violent toward them or actively wishing them harm. Most of the time it simply means that you don’t have their best interests at heart.

Genuine love always has an element of sacrifice, even if only in a minor way. Someone who has your best interests at heart will risk receiving your anger in order to try to get you to stop believing lies, or to try to get you off of a self-destructive path. But the person who offers false “love” will avoid paying any real cost for your sake. In fact, the goal of their pretend “love” may well be to get something from you, even if it’s just your agreement and cooperation.

The dangerous thing about people who offer false “love” is that they often pass themselves off as offering genuine love – and they’re usually convinced themselves that it’s genuine.

A person who offers false “love” will tell you whatever you want to hear. A person who truly loves will tell you the truth, even if it’s hard for you to accept.

A person who offers false “love” will let you believe that you can do whatever you want. A person who truly loves will warn you about the consequences of your actions.

A person who offers false “love” will let you think you can blame others for everything. A person who truly loves will encourage you to take responsibility for yourself.

People talk a lot about “love” vs. “hate”; but, generally, most of what they call “hate” isn’t really hate, and what they call “love” is very far removed from real, sacrificial love. People who genuinely love usually aren’t opposing “hate” so much as they’re opposing indifference and false “love.”

Original here