Love Your Friends

“A friend loves at all times,”- Proverbs 17:17a (NIV)

The beautiful thing about friendship is that it is timeless. Even if close friends have been separated by time and distance, the love and bond between them still remains. God has blessed me with such friendships and my prayer is that I will be a good friend to the ones He has given me. But friendships can often be fragile, and it is tragic when friends part under unpleasant circumstances. When harmful attitudes such as anger, jealousy, or impatience seep into the minds of friends even the most trivial of offences can separate the strongest of bonds. The consequences of allowing these attitudes to infiltrate our minds are painful and as we look back on the memories of broken friendships we are filled with regret wondering if things could have been different if we had simply not taken the steps we took.

All of us are but humans and as such we have been tainted by sin. Due to our fallen state, it is easy for us to give into harmful and destructive attitudes. Sin tells us that we must always glorify ourselves and insist on having our way at all costs. But in reality when we place ourselves before others, we have actually bowed our knee to sin and allowed it to sever our relationship with God and with those we care about. How then can we make sure that sin does not get in the way of our relationships?  The truth is that we can do nothing about it by ourselves, but only by the power of Christ working within us. When we have allowed His Spirit to enter our hearts and seek to conform ourselves to Him in our attitudes and actions, He will carry out his restorative work in our lives. As we turn our face to Him and away from ourselves, He will train us in His love so that His love will overflow from our hearts and into the lives of others. Bearing with one another in love is something that only Christ can help us accomplish and when we choose to abide in Christ, He will order our friendships so that life may abound and hearts be turned to Him.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Love Before Rights

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is
not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily
angered,” -1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NIV)

We live in a culture which insists about making sure that we get our rights. Nothing is wrong with that in of itself. In fact, in the face of injustice we must stand up for our basic and fundamental rights when they are being wrongfully deprived and be advocates for others when they undergo the same. Doing so is a tangible manifestation of the command Jesus gave to love one another just as He has loved us; with selfless compassion and service. However, the impulse to fight for one’s rights can often be taken to ridiculous extremes. Many bizarre lawsuit cases have mounted and been won in the name of defending one’s rights. What these cases often show is not the love of Christ, but the greed and pride that plagues human nature.

Love as what Christ practiced did not concern itself with the rights of the self. It was and is always focused on others and serving them. Christ was willing to forsake everything He had, even His own life, so that we may be freed from our slavery to our sinful nature and restored into newness of life with Him. But how many of us would say that we practice this kind of love? Though we do not like to admit it, we can point out times when our own attempts to love were motivated by self interest and wanting to get something out of our charity for ourselves. Even when we try with all sincerity to love selflessly we are quick to give into pride and we exalt our compassion as we begin to see ourselves as shining examples of how to love. It is only when we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts that we can truly love as He did. By keeping in step with His Spirit He will break us of our pride and selfishness which insists on gratifying ourselves at all costs; perfecting His love in us so that others will be drawn to Him and the life He gives.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Love That Protects

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects…” -1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV)

Every day there is a Christian somewhere in the world undergoing persecution or hardship for their stand in Christ. Living in countries where corruption and tyranny are rampant, they must endure unspeakable torment and everyday is a fight against injustice and oppression. Some of their cases are reported by the mainstream media, but countless others are never brought into the light. However, there are organizations which fight to make sure that the stories and voices of these persecuted Christians are not silenced by the iron fist of their governments. Out of their love for the truth of Christ, and for those who stand up for it, these organizations risk much to bring awareness to the plight of the persecuted church. They assure them through tangible action that they have a voice and are supported by those who are praying for them and care about defending their right to exist and follow Jesus.

By the definition Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 13:6-7, love is not some passive feeling that keeps silent when trouble is brewing. Rather it will get itself involved and take the side of truth. When we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts and seek to know Him, He will give us a love for Him, which will then lead us to love His truth and to love those who speak His truth. What are we doing to defend our brothers and sisters when they encounter opposition for their stand in Christ? Do we remain silent, content with preserving our own reputation in the eyes of the crowd? Or will we join our voices with those who will do anything to speak life into the lives of others. Granted, it can be a hard decision at times for our instinctive human reaction is to lean toward the former. But when we lean on Christ and allow Him to strengthen us, He will give us the confidence to speak the truth in love so that we may be an encouragement and blessing not only to those who are thirsty to hear, but to those who are working towards the same goal as well.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.