Lesson 8: A Loveless Christian?
Of all the oxymorons I know, this one takes the cake – “a loveless Christian”. That has got to be the biggest oxymoron of all. Yet, many of us fall into this category every so often if not all the time. We have been so sucked into this world of revenge, payback, anger, malice, and hatred that we have slipped into the gray area again. We have been influenced by the world so much so that we do not even know what loving our brother or sister in Christ even means or entails.
I believe that in order to forgive we must first learn to love. A Christian that does not have love is no Christian at all. Christ gave us the two greatest commandments and they both had to do with LOVE! Love for God and love for man. How can we claim to be followers of Christ and not obey His commands? Also, 1 John 4 tells us that God is love. This means that if we do not love we do not know God.
Do you love God? If so, that automatically means you must love your brothers and sisters. But, how are we supposed to love others? First, we must throw away the world’s definition of how to love others. The world tells us to be “nice.” The world tells us to be polite. So we walk around with this mask, this façade. We do not care for the other person. We are just nice to them when they are around us. Essentially, we act like we love them. THIS IS NOT WHAT GOD WANTS US TO DO! This shows that there is no real change or transformation of the heart. We are not a new creation. We still harbor anger and hatred for that person. We have simply sugar-coated ourselves to seem sweet on the outside, but on the inside we are still the same loveless person.
The world tells us to simply forget about that person that we don’t like and to move on with our lives. Christ tells us to forgive that person if they have wronged us. If we do not forgive, our Father will not forgive us. Christ also tells us that we should be reconciled to our brother before we even bring an offering to Him! We need to have love in our hearts in order to forgive.
So how do we love? We love others just as Christ has loved us. Ellen White tells us in Christ’s Object Lessons that if “you are in communion with Christ, you will place His estimate upon every human being. You will feel for others the same deep love that Christ has felt for you,” (197). That is a high calling, isn’t it? But that’s what it means to be a real Christian. We are to love others with the kind of love that this world knows nothing about. This means loving a person even when the hurt us, loving others when they don’t love us and loving when they don’t seem worthy of our love. That is what we are called to do.
First, we must realize that we are not worthy of God’s love for we are sinners. Yet, we seem to forget this fact. We count ourselves better than others when, in fact, we are all the same. We are all sinners.
Another question you may have is why we should love others if we simply don’t like them? If you’re thinking, “Well Regie, I don’t hate them I just don’t like them very much.” Mrs. White also says something very profound and hard-hitting concerning this. Please read it carefully. She says, “The word of God is to have a sanctifying effect on our association with every member of the human family…The heart of him who receives the grace of God overflows with love for God and for those whom Christ died. He does not love others because they love and please him, but because they areChrist’s purchased possession,” (102). That is why we ought to love others. Because they too are Christ’s purchased possession just like you! If we could only see all our enemies, friends and family like this, we would truly know what God means when he told us to love one another.
Now, let’s be real. We have trouble loving our own family and friends let alone our enemies. So start with the basics. Begin by loving your close family and friends as we are to do. Let’s stop being fake Christians. Let’s stop living in the gray area and begin living a life of love. Let’s stop being Christians who preach love but practice hate. Let’s stop being Christians who seek to be forgiven but never seek to forgive!
Friend, Christ is coming soon to take His chosen to heaven. Who is to say that the person whom you do not love or forgive won’t be in heaven? Are you really going to be avoiding them there too? How can we think to be in heaven when we are unable to obey God’s command to love others here?! 1 John 3:15 says, “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.” 1 John 4:21 tells us that we MUST love others. We must love not tolerate. We must love not avoid. We must love not ignore. We must love, period!
If there is a problem with you and someone else, try to make things right now. God has given you the time now to make things right. You do not know if they will be here tomorrow. You do not know if you will be here tomorrow. God has given you time now so do it now! You must do your part as a child of God, as a Christian. Don’t stay in that gray area between love and hate. Don’t take on the world’s definition of love. Learn about it from the Bible. If we are to be one with Christ, the love He has showed us must be shown to others through us. Love and forgive others JUST AS GOD LOVES AND FORGIVES YOU! Don’t be a loveless Christian for there is no such thing. Love and forgive! This is God’s command to EVERY Christian! And yes, that means you!