HOW DO WE LOVE OTHERS?
Do not let grace and truth leave you — bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and esteem in the sight of God and of people.
– Proverbs 3:3,4
The more television we watch, the more we are given a clearer perspective of how the world views ‘love’. This word has come to mean ‘lust’, ‘like’, ‘appreciate’ and so much more. Yet, seldom does the word ‘love’ mean what God meant for it. In the verses, above, love, for God means grace and truth; these are two qualities He has given us, as is His character, have mostly been abandoned, even in circles of believers. Most of us, including many, many believers, love those who love us. Do we love those who don’t love us or who disagree with us? Do we love those who reject us? I know this is the way most of the world operates. Is this how we, believers in the One true God function? The word ‘love’ is mentioned in the Bible more than 340 times, giving us an understanding of its importance. But what is love and how does it function? Love is more than an emotion. Yes, when we first feel it, it gives us a warm feeling inside. What does it feel like, when it has been with us for years? Those who study Scripture know love was given to us by God. He loved us first, thus we are able to love Him and others. Is the love we feel for God the same love we feel for our sweethearts, our wives, our children, our friends, for humanity? The most-often viewed Bible verse on love is found in 1 Corinthians 13. In this chapter, written by Rav Sha’ul, the Apostle Paul, love is characterized as an orientation, not an emotion. What does this mean? An emotion is transitory; it depends on a momentary feeling. However, an orientation is a mindset; this focuses our total thinking in one way. If my orientation is directed by love, then every action I perform is grounded in love. Does this mean I allow people to walk over me because I love them? Hardly. Think about your own relationships of love. Do you allow your spouse to control your every move because you love her or him? No you don’t. Do you permit your children to constantly disobey you without consequences because you love them? If you do, then you are lacking skills as a parent. Love means applying firm, yet fair approaches to those you love. Why would you not do the same for anyone with whom you interact? This is what a mindset of love means. All believers have an obligation to follow the pattern set for us by Adonai Elohim, our Holy God, and by Adonai Yeshua, our Lord Jesus. As we have seen, in our reading of Torah, Adonai Elohim treated Israel with a love-based orientation, throughout their 40 year trek through the wilderness, even though Israel disobeyed and revolted against Him 10 times. And remember what Adonai Yeshua told us in Matthew 5:42-45 – “You have heard that our fathers were told, ‘Love your neighbor — and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! Then you will become children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun shine on good and bad people alike, and he sends rain to the righteous and the unrighteous alike.” Is this hard to do? Of course it is. Doing the right thing, when every one around you is doing the wrong thing, is always difficult. Following Adonai’s commands cannot be easy or else why would we continue? Think about that!
CONSIDER: Are you trying to hold onto a love orientation? Are you still embedded in ‘love your friends and hate your enemies’? Have you tried seeking help to change your orientation?
ACTION: The first to ask is the Blessed Holy Spirit of the Living God. He is the One who will provide us with all that we need to follow Adonai Yeshua and obey God’s commands. Then you might see a believing counsellor, who will help you, over time, adjust your orientation. Or you might wish to join a group of believers who are walking on the same path.
PRAYER: Abba B’Shamayim, Heavenly Father, may Your Name be glorified throughout the earth. May You be lifted up above the universe, Your Name is so great. We ask that you help us develop a mindset based on love, not on hate. We ask that You help us love our enemies, without allowing ourselves to be floor mats. B’Shem Adonai Yeshua Mashichainu, Amein.
May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you fully and richly.