Lonely? …or maybe you’re ready to drop a few relationships? Too much drama? Life might be simpler without other people, but wouldn’t it be empty? If we value our career, possessions, or free time more than relationships, what kind of life do we have? Technology is great when connecting deep relationships, but bad when it leads to many relationships of no depth and low impact.
Jesus said, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Matthew 22:37-40 from The Message
All – whole person, inner self (heart), thinking/will/feeling (soul), understanding, reasoning, thinking, deciding (mind)
God’s Love Forgives Us and God’s Love Gives Us New Life!
“Love God with all,” in John 3 Jesus describes being “born again” to Nicodemus, a transformative experience. In salvation, God can bring you into good emotional health!
Repent – quick, ready, simple, and easy when you believe that He forgives. 1 Jn 1:9 What do I believe about God? He loves you! He forgives you! In Him we have security, identity, sense of belonging.
As I am changed by Him, I now become available for healthy relationships. …relating out of grace encounter…not selfish, co-dependent, manipulative.
Become a friend who forgives, defends. Those around you are recipient of your spiritual life.
Love Gives – Love Forgives
Forgive – cancel the debt, giving up resentment or the desire to punish others. It’s not pretending the hurt didn’t happen, but bringing the hurt into the light so that it can be healed.
Forgiveness is expensive, it’s painful to our emotions and pride.
Forgiveness requires love in action.
We have much to learn about peace.
A team that has:
Love Forgives: J.Mt18 – Fight Right
- Go privately and talk about it.
- If they won’t hear, take 1 or 2 with you & talk about it.
- If, take it to the church & talk about it.
- If, treat them as an unbeliever.
The goal is restoration!
“Treat them as unbeliever…” What does that mean?
Jesus said, “love your neighbor, enemy”
When we approach an “unbeliever” we should:
1. Remember who you are
2. Recognize who they are
3. Respect their goals/language
4. Restoration is the goal
What can we learn?
- God forgives us.
- His forgiveness changes us.
- He expects us to share His forgiveness with others.
What can we learn?
- Forgiveness = God’s Way
- Private = Respect.
- Unity takes teamwork!
- Restoration is the goal!
We can prevent many fights by using Jesus techniques. “The Interrupters” seeking to interrupt the cycle of violence and revenge by physically getting in the way to insert the idea of a “Win” by peace.
Love Gives – Love Forgives
Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God’s love is seen in the gift of His Son, Jesus.
Love gives. Lust gets.
Paul writes about this kind of love in 1 Corinthians 13 – Excerpts from The Message paraphrase and more standard versions –
“Love is patient, kind: love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others.”
Patient – active endurance of opposition, not a passive resignation. The capacity to endure delay, trouble, or suffering without becoming angry or upset.
Kind – to provide something beneficial for someone as an act of kindness: grace/mercy.
“It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
Isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
It doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.”
Now we have a pretty good idea of attitudes and techniques that can produce teamwork and prevent violence. Love Gives. Love Forgives.
As Paul started to wrap up his letter the Jesus people, just like you, in Corinth he wrote this… “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” – 1 Cor. 16:13
Here’s a prayer that we can use as we set out to live a love that gives:
“Dear God, please forgive me. Please show me how I have hurt others and grace me with the courage to make amends. Thank You for loving me; please show me how to truly love others.”
– some text quoted here is from the New Bible Dictionary, LN, and other Biblical reference material.