9th February 2014

Love By Any Other Name 

“‘You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?’”
(Matthew 5:43-47 NIV UK)

As president of GCI, I hear many inspiring outreach projects our congregations are engaged in around the world. Some are simple acts of kindness and service to those in need. Others are quite extensive, with several congregations, sometimes across two or three countries, working together on projects such as providing education for disadvantaged children, vocational training for young adults, employment support for poor but hardworking families. 

Christian service and outreach is motivated by God’s love, which fills us, and which the Holy Spirit prompts us to share with others. But have you ever wondered about the many examples of genuine and generous love by people who are not Christians, some of whom might not even believe in God? Where does such love come from?  1 John 4:7 says:  “Let us love one another, for love comes from God,” and a few verses later we’re told, “God is love.” Verse 16 continues: “Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in them.” 

See the implication? Because the Creator is love, it is “hardwired” into the creation, and into every human being. Wherever and whenever we see the expression of love, regardless of the source, we are seeing God’s love, because no other kind exists. “We love because he first loved us,” says 1 John 4:19. 

So what is so special about “Christian love”?  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-12). 

Jesus was pointing to a love that goes far deeper than simply loving those who love us, those who are good to us, those we naturally care about. He was talking about a love that extends to those we don’t like, even to those who despise or hate us, those who mistreat us, those that might be our enemies. 

This is how God loves us—Christ died for us while we were still God’s enemies (Romans 5:8). God loves his enemies, and it is that love, a love without bounds or conditions, which turns enemies into friends. 

Holy Father, help us to realise that we are to develop, exercise and show your love to others. It doesn’t come naturally, and we need your help. In Jesus’s name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach


joeandtammyAbout the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Email:  admin@daybyday.org.uk

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