A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (John 13:34)
We’ve gone into some depth on the topic of love over the last few weeks (although we always encourage additional study). We’ve learned why we should love and who we should love. Let us now dig deeper into how we should love others. The Bible gives us some clear directions to do just that:
We should love others as Christ loves—sacrificially.
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:12-13)
Christ commanded His disciples (and us) to love one another as He has loved; then He explained exactly how He planned to show them His love—by giving His life for them (and us). Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This verse shows the extent of Christ’s sacrificial love. Jesus didn’t only die for His friends or for “good” people; He died for sinners, for His enemies. That’s the way that Christ wants us to love one another.
We should love others the way we want to be loved.
Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:18)
We can be certain that none of us woke up this morning thinking, “I sure hope someone is rude to me today. I really want to be mistreated.” Of course, we didn’t! Who would think like that?! No one wants to be treated badly, yet how often do we treat others just so? If we would take more time to be careful with our words, actions, and reactions towards others, more time thinking “Is this how I would want someone to treat me?” we would see a great difference in how we love others. We must “turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39; Luke 6:29) and not “render evil for evil (1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 3:9).” As much as we try to “love ourselves,” we must work even harder to love others more.
We should love others with sincerity.
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. (Romans 12:9)
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: (1 Peter 1:22)
The word dissimulation is often translated as “hypocrisy.” Being sincere is the opposite of being hypocritical. We all know someone fake. He or she is only playing a part when the right people are looking. They don’t mean a single thing they say; they’re just in it for what they can get out of it.
As Christians, we are to be the exact opposite of hypocrites; we are to have “love unfeigned (2 Corinthians 6:6).” To “feign” something is to fake it or to pretend. We have to be real in our love for others. We can’t hope to fool God with any kind of self-serving attitude in our actions towards others. We must love sincerely.
We should love others as brethren.
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: (1 Peter 3:8)
Most people would say that they would do anything for family. People make sacrifices for their family members every day. We don’t question it or even stop to think about it; we just do it because it’s family. Even if we aren’t that close to a particular family member, we will still help because it’s family. Many people put their families before anyone or anything else.
As Christians, we are all part of God’s family. We should have the same attitude towards each other as we do towards our families. How many of us would drop everything to come to the aid of a Christian brother or sister? How many of us would, without question or care, inconvenience ourselves to help a fellow Christian in his time of need? Let us have compassion for one another and love as brethren.
We should love others in deed and in truth.
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18)
“Actions speak louder than words” is a very well-known expression. While it may be trite or cliché to say, it is no less true because of it. It is not enough for us to say we love God or love someone else and then never back it up with actions.
A person would never believe his or her spouse loves him or her if the spouse only expresses love in words but never with actions. Children would have a hard time believing their parents love them if they only hear it expressed but never see it put into action.
Jesus said in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Every Christian would say that he or she loves God, yet not every Christian backs it up with obedience to God—actions that prove they love Him. Members of a church would say they love their church, yet many are content to simply show up for services and warm a pew but never contribute anything (time, talents, etc.) to help their church—actions that prove love.
It is time we stop merely saying we love God, our families, our churches, etc., and start showing our love. We cannot say we have God’s love in us if we are not willing to put it into practice (1 John 3:17).
Let us love God and others deeply and sacrificially regardless of who they are. We must be sincere in our love and show it with our actions. Let us strive to be obedient to God’s Word and be shining lights of His love in this dark and sin-filled world!
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.1 Corinthians 13:4-7
For a more exhaustive search of the word love in the Bible click here for a great online resource!
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