Showing our love for others

Why is it important to show love?
Because God is love

1Jn 4:8  The one who does not love has not known God. For God is love.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13).

God is love. And He demonstrated that love when He sent His only Son Jesus to die on the cross for us while we were yet sinners. Therefore, when we want to be more like God, the first thing to note is that we need to love others more.

Ephesians 5:1-2  Since you are God's dear children, you must try to be like him.  (2)  Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us and gave his life for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice that pleases God.

We are commanded to love one another

Gal 5:14  For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

John 13:34-35  I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another.  (35)  By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another.

Matthew 22:36-40  Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?  (37)  Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  (38)  This is the first and great commandment.  (39)  And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  (40)  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

Loving others is not an option; it is a commandment. We need to love others simply because we have been commanded to do so.

Love testifies to others that we are God’s people

John 13:34-35  I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another.  (35)  By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another.

1Jn 3:10  In this the children of God are revealed, and the children of the Devil: everyone not practicing righteousness is not of God, also he who does not love his brother.

We are not to be recognized as Christians by the vast knowledge of the Bible that we have or by how often we go to church but by our love.

Everything else is meaningless without love

1 Corinthians 13:1-3  I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell.  (2)  I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains---but if I have no love, I am nothing.  (3)  I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned ---but if I have no love, this does me no good.

It is so important to check ourselves when we are serving God. If we do not serve out of love, we profit nothing. Even the “ultimate” service of offering ourselves to be burnt means nothing if that does not proceed out of love.

How do we love others?
Meet their needs in a practical way

Luke 10:27­35 (NIV) He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbour as yourself.'" 28 "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbour?" 30 In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'

After the religious teacher has stated that we should love our neighbour, he gave the parable of the good Samaritan to show that we must love our neighbour in practical ways.

James 2:15­16 (NIV) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

1 John 3:17­18 (NIV) If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

It is important for us to show love by helping our Christian brothers and sisters. However, it is equally important for us when we need help to show love by being considerate to the one helping us.

1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV) It is not rude, it is not self­seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

1 Corinthians 10:24 (NIV) Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

1 Corinthians 12:25 (NIV) so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.

An example from the old testament....

When Naomi's husband and sons died, her daughter-in-laws wanted to stay with her to look after her. Despite her desperate condition, Naomi did not think only of her own needs. Instead, she put her daughter-in-law's needs above her own and asked them to go and find themselves another husband.

Ruth 1:5­13 (NIV) ....Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband. ....8 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-­in-­law, "Go back, each of you, to your mother's home. May the LORD show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. 9 May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband." Then she kissed them and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, "We will go back with you to your people." 11 But Naomi said, "Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me­­even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons­­ 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters.

Pray for them
Pray that God will forgive them.

Stephen interceded for those who persecuted Him.

Acts 7:60 (NIV) Then he (Stephen) fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.

And in answer to that intercessory pray, Jesus converted one of Stephen's murderers, the Pharisee Saul, who became the apostle Paul.

Pray that God will heal them.

James 5:14 (NIV) Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.

Pray that God will strengthen them.

Luke 22:31­32 (NIV) "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

Forgive them

1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV) It (Love) is not rude, it is not self­seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Stephen had love even for his murderers and prayed that God would forgive them.

Acts 7:59­60 (NIV) While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.

What is the characteristics of true love?

1 Corinthians 13:4­8 (NIV) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self­seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

Love must be unconditional

Luke 6:32­35 (NIV) "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

The words "what credit is that to you" is translated from the Greek words "what grace have you". In other words, if we love only those who love us, those who are good to us and those we expect to get something in return, we don't have grace. Love must be gracious. It must be given notwithstanding the fact that the party does not deserve it. Christ has given us an example to follow by loving us despite our sins.

God gives us the capacity to love

1 Tim  1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

God can give us a spirit of love. If we find it difficult to love someone, why not ask God to give us the ability to love him?

Understanding the Sermon on the mount

Matthew 5:39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

What does it mean not to resist the enemy?

I believe it means that we should avoid, as far as possible, any trouble with them. Give in to them out of Christian love.

Genesis 26:19­22 (NIV) Isaac's servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20 But the herdsmen of Gerar quarrelled with Isaac's herdsmen and said, "The water is ours!" So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. 21 Then they dug another well, but they quarrelled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. 22 He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarrelled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, "Now the LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land."

It also means not to avenge ourselves.

Romans 12:19 (NIV) Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

It is not wrong to protect ourselves.

Luke 22:36 (NIV) He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.

Nehemiah 4:8­9 (NIV) They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. 9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.

Do we give to anyone who ask of us?

The Bible emphasises giving to those in genuine need.

Deuteronomy 15:8 (NIV) Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.

We are not asked to provide for people who refuse to provide for themselves.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV) For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."

Matthew 25:1­9 (NIV) "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 "At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' 7 "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' 9 "'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.'

Practical issues

Can we love someone without liking them?

To like someone means to find him pleasing and attractive. Is everyone pleasing and attractive? No! A murderer or rapist is not pleasing. Neither is someone who is always trying to hurt us. It is very difficult to like these people. But the Bible doesn't say that we must like everyone; we are asked to love everyone. What is the difference between like and love? 

LikeLove
It is conditional. I like this person because she is caring, godly, etc.​It is unconditional. I love John despite the fact that he is boastful and proud.
​It is a feeling and therefore cannot be forced. We either like someone or don't. We cannot be forced to change from dislike to like.​It is a choice. I may not love someone at first but I can choose to love him. The Bible instructs us to love even our enemies. Therefore, loving must be something we can choose to do whether we feel like or not.

Therefore, we may not like someone but we can choose to love him by forgiving him, praying for him, helping him when he is in need, etc.