Do you love them? In His Word 5-2-22

 This is a long one but it is so relevant to what the church is preaching this week. My own church spoke on being a neighbor to someone this week. This rewrite of a devotional from 2004 just seemed right; In His Word. 

How should I treat the person who has treated me wrong? What should I do to the person who is begging for food on the street? Should I ignore the poor, or should I try to help them in some way? What about my neighbor? Let’s check out these scriptures that may help.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And thought I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and thought I have faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind: 1 Corinthians 12 1-4a

Beloved let us love on another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God .he who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8

Beloved if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11


Love them. Though it sounds simple is also complex! I am not talking about the love we have for our helpmate but the Love we have towards God and from God towards others.

At our recent home group, we discussed hospitality. One of the main things in hospitality is the Love of God towards others. In order to show the one, you must have the other.

If you are wondering how to treat anyone, you probably already know, but the answer is always with God’s unconditional love.

               If someone is mean to you, hurts your feelings or does something that bothers you, you know that love is the last thing on your mind, it’s more like hate! Or revenge; “ I’ll get that person who did such and such”. It may be what we want to do, but is it what we should really be doing?

We have heard the phrase; what would Jesus do?

Follow this story line a moment.

Justina was new in town. She was a Christian and believed that all people should be treated as such. She went to church, gave her tithe, and loved everyone she could! One day Justina met Fred. Fred and Justina were from different worlds literally. He was in the world still living in His sin, and rough around the edges because of it.  Justina was a Christian who tried to live what the Word of God, her Bible said to. You could say she was in this world but not of it. Living her life to please God not man.  She saw in him a ‘good person who needed some help’. So, she pointed him in the direction of Church.

She invited him to come to church with her the following Sunday after they had met. First he came up with excuses how he could not get there because he had stuff to do, or had no car. Eventually he agreed to go if she could drive him and she offered to grab lunch after church with him.

Sunday came and Justina picked Fred up in her Ford Focus and drove to the church she had found when she first moved to town. Everyone had been so kind to her as a new person that she was sure they would be for Fred as well.

               What Justina did not know was that Fred had been there before. He had been the one to damage the building with an attempt at vandalism when he was a teen. Now that he was older though, he felt bad about what he had done. He was sure the people there would treat him like a criminal.

Fred was scared. He liked Justina and wanted to be her friend, but he was afraid that maybe she would not want to be his friend after she found out all about his past!

               As they approached the building Justina saw the Pastor’s wife and called to her. “This is my new friend Fred, we met in the park on Friday when I was walking my puppy, Ralph.” She introduced him.

               The Pastor’s wife smiled eyeing Fred suspiciously then responded to the intro, “Nice to meet you Fred, do you already attend a church someplace? If not, we would love to have you make our church your own.”

               Was this the same lady who had threatened to put him in jail 5 years earlier? Fred wondered to himself. Why was she so kind to him now? His looks had not changed and yet, she was treating him differently. He wasn’t even sure there was a God let alone looking for a church!

“Thanks. I will think about it.” He heard himself saying.

               She brought Fred to a seat near the front. As the pair walked many people introduced themselves. Fred was amazed, but suspicious of their kindness.

               Later as Pastor Smith gave an invitation to ‘get saved’ Fred found himself raising his hand deciding that he wanted what these people had.

He was beginning to wonder if God was real and wanted to do the right thing.. He wasn’t too sure why he had raised his hand other than that he wanted just that. The pastor called the people who had raised their hands to the front beside him. He greeted each one personally and hugged them individually. As he approached Fred there were suddenly tears in his eyes. The pastor looked into Fred’s fearful face and saw the young teen that had done such damage years ago. His hug felt as if he were going to hug right through him as he brought the microphone back to his mouth to speak to the congregation.

               “Many of you may not know who this young gentleman is…” he began to explain.

Fred started shaking in his boots! He was sure they would send him out now! Fear gripped him so hard that he nearly ran out if it weren’t for Pastor Smith’s firm grip on his shoulder he would have darted fast. 

“I, I…” Fred stammered. The pastor just continued…

“This young man tried to get away from God, he was the boy who tried to burn us down, broke our windows, he was the one who tore up the hymnals…so many years ago. My friends, our son has come home. When I saw him raise his hand today, to accept Jesus as His Lord my heart broke inside! This is the reason we come to church folks. This is the reason we are Christians. Here we had this boy in our reach for many years and yet, we should be ashamed because God had to bring Justina Mc Molly here to our hometown in order to bring this man to Christ.

 We may have faltered because of fear. But first John chapter four and verse 18 tells us there is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out all fear! This boy who was afraid to come forward…” He turned and looked at an astonished Fred who was wondering how the pastor knew he was afraid. “ Yes son I could tell. Yet knowing you all would see him and remember his deeds in the past, he chose life over fear. You could not see the look on his face, but God did, and I did. He stands here today because we chose love over hate.”

Fred hugged the pastor and followed his directions in prayer. Ten years later Fred and Justina have families of their own Fred became a pastor and a missionary in his own city. Justina and her family join them occasionally for outreaches. God is working on many lives through the love of these people.

Okay, so what is the point of that story? We know that greater love has no man than he lay down his life for a friend. But who is our friend? The person we have not met could be your friend. Did we all know Jesus when He gave His life for us? No. Because He loved each of us even before we knew Him, we are able to communicate with Him today and to fellowship with Him in spirit, in prayer and in His Word.

There are so many out there that need His love, but we are too afraid to step up to the plate and ask them to church. Or perhaps we know someone who is in the church, but always seems alone, who we notice but because of his or her appearance we choose not to associate with them.

We need to get over our opinions and fears and remember that we are here to further the kingdom of God, something we cannot do without His love flowing through us! It is our job to get to know Jesus well enough to share His love with others. The best way I know of learning and knowing His love anyway is to spend time in prayer, and reading His Words daily, more than daily if you can!

If we really spent enough time in His presence, we would flow with His spirit like we have never done before. We will know what Jesus would do when we spend time in prayer and reading, studying, the Bible.  We will do what Jesus would do! We will no longer have to put our personal thoughts or opinions aside because His thoughts would become our thoughts! Though they are not now, because we have our daily duties and what not to keep our minds off of Him. When we keep our minds and hearts focused even those nitpicky things, we do each day will become something we do out of love.

  When someone treats you wrongly, you can forgive them when you have been in His presence a lot faster than when you have been away from, Him wallowing in self-pity or self-righteousness.

Even when someone cuts you off your thoughts will be; “Lord help that person!” instead of *&@##~ !  that person!” if your mind is on the Lord and His Word. Your  heart would be right and your mouth would produce the proper words that would come with that unconditional love. Your prayer would be Lord keep that person safe, not hinder his path.

He will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him.

It is our purpose to insert God’s love in other people’s lives.

Dear heavenly  Father, help me today to walk in Your Love as I go through the day, help me to love my neighbor as I love myself and love myself as You love me, in Jesus’ name. amen


Suggested Readings for this week. Monday: 1John 4-all Tuesday: 1 John 5-all Wednesday: Ephesians 5:1-33 Thursday: Romans 12:1-21 Friday: Psalm 46