Talking Charm

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Understanding Biblical Love

Our culture has a really screwed up view of "love."  No I'm not talking about romantic love, friendly love, or parental love - I'm talking about biblical love.

All believers, and even most non-believers, know that Christians are called to love (Matthew 22:37-39) but what does that even mean?

If a person is struggling with a sin, are we called to "love" them by ignoring the sin and not offending them or "love" them by making them uncomfortable and warning them of the definite consequences of their actions?

Or even worse, if a person is not saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, are we really going to not offend them by “pushing” our view of their eternity by suggesting they are wrong and call it “love?”

I like to think of it this way.

Say a batch of cookies was freshly baked and placed on a table around your family, friends, some strangers, and even a few of your enemies in the room.

Now imagine you hear from a source, that you completely and fully trust, that the cookies were made with lethal poison – a poison that will not only cause death, but a slow, painful, unthinkable death.

What would you do?

Remember, there are people who believe, as imagined, that the cookies are fine – in fact they believe the cookies will be yummy! They believe that the cookies are fine for everyone to eat. But you, however, believe something different.

The difference between these two beliefs, are that if they’re right and you’re wrong, no one gets hurt – everyone will be fine.

But if you’re right and they’re wrong, you will be fine and they will suffer an unimaginable death.

I’m sure you know where I’m going with this.

This is where biblical love comes in.

The Bible says in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Christians have a different view of our lifetime than the world does; this difference is completely lethal, not simple or ignorable.

Since we are discussing biblical love, let’s quickly look at the Bible’s definition of “love” in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8,
Love is:
patient and kind;
love does not envy or boast;
it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things
believes all things
hopes all things
endures all things.
Love never ends…”

I want to point out one of these characteristics that we may all be thinking about while on this topic; “It does not insist on its own way.” Could this be referring to our belief on salvation? Are we called to not “insist” that “our way” (what we believe about God and the Bible) is right?

Not quite.

To research this further, we must first look at the surrounding context, which we did.

Secondly, we must look at other versions of this text to get the full meaning. In the King James Version, that line reads, “[love] seeketh not her own.” And the New King James Version reads, “[love] does not seeks its own.”

This actually suggests that love is not “selfish,” and I don’t know about you, but my reasons for not sharing the gospel or calling someone out on a sin that is ruining their life are very selfish.

“What if they don’t like me?”
“What if they spread rumors about me?”
“It will take too long, I’m busy!”

The “selfish” list is endless.

So this line about love actually commands us to be loving by forgetting about our own comfort and our own way, and insist on what God has commanded of us – and that is to preach his gospel.

Mark 16:15-16, “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’”

So, let’s go back to what “love” really means. Does it mean accepting someone’s sin and not offending?


Does it mean loving them so much that you insist on what God said in his word – that if they do not repent, they will be condemned and will spend an eternity in unimaginable pain and separation from God.

We are absolutely called to love.

But your definition of love will determine how you treat people. Are you going to be a passive lover or an active lover? Are you going to love someone by ignoring their horrific future if they continue in their lifestyle or love them by sharing the truth with them?

Going back to Mathew 22:39, we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves and Matthew 7:12, to do unto others as we would have others do unto us.

There’s our standard given by God.

What would you want someone to do to you? Tell you that the way you are living is leading you down a path of destruction?

Or not?

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