What’s new (beside the year)?
The law, a set of rules impossible to keep, no longer keeps us from the Father’s presence—love has opened the way. Love from the Father in sacrificing His Son, love from the Son in submitting to death, love from the Spirit in enabling us to embrace Him. And now we are expected to emulate this God-love in our humanity. “By this” Jesus says, “everyone will know that you are my disciples.” (John 14:35)
It’s not doctrine, good works, or righteous living that reflects God, but love. Books have been written about the whys, how-tos, and effects of love but here we’ll look at three simple A,B,Cs of love.
A—Acceptance. Love compels us to accept people. They are precious to Jesus and therefore we accept those who are different or difficult; those who don’t resemble us, our culture, or our opinions; those who are unlovely or unreceptive. We accept them simply because they’re made in God’s image and He tells us to love them.
B—Blessing. Love calls us to bless others, even our enemies. To comfort the hurting, supply the disadvantaged, come alongside the lonely, encourage the broken, and pray for the troubled. This reaches beyond friendships, crosses the boundaries of familiarity, and stretches as far as our enemies. Bless—enrich lives.
C—Commitment. Love constrains us to commit, to stand fast when love gets messy and inconvenient. When the pain is too hard to share we stay because we are committed. We have all the resources we need, well supplied by the Holy Spirit. We can do this.
This is the love we find in God. He fully accepts us with our imperfections; He blesses us when we are oblivious; He is eternally committed to us. Out of this abundant love He says to us,
“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 14:34b)