Tuesday, September 9, 2014

~ "Freedom to love..."

"Let love be without dissimulation.  Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another..." (Romans 12: 9-10)

Wow!  God certainly knows how to speak to you, doesn't he?  Love must be sincere! Hate what is evil and hold tightly to what is good!  Love each other with genuine affection! Excel at showing respect for one another!  If everyone were to read only these two verses, the world would be a better place, but it's not just these two verses we need to focus on, is it?

True love for one another comes first from knowing what love is.  If you were never shown love, you will have a bent interpretation of love.  How we were raised, who we were raised with, what the circumstances were that surrounded our early years all play a role in how and who we love.  Generally, our first love is our mother.  We learned to love her through her constant caring and devotion to us when we were born.  That love is probably the single most profound love we will ever experience.  We love also because of constant companionship with others...our siblings, our extended families, our friends.  Our love for others grows from acquainting ourselves with them.  You can have a love for someone, but a genuine love, a sincere love, takes nurturing.

The same is true of our love for Jesus.  He loves us - he knows us!  Can we honestly love him without knowing him?  Can we honestly love God without knowing his word?  Two things come to light here: Loving someone in spite of their faults and being loved in spite of ours.  A sincere love requires understanding and forgiveness.  If we say we've forgiven someone and love them, we can't dredge up the past and rehash what is there.  That's not forgiveness.  We can't lash out in anger at others and say awful things and expect there to not be repercussions that can be both hurtful and unforgettable.

Jesus tells us that we are forgiven by his sacrifice on the cross.  That doesn't give us the right to continue to violate God's Word as if we had a free pass to the afterlife.  Loving God means to obey his commands, or at least try to obey them.  He knows we aren't perfect.  He doesn't expect perfect. We have rights as citizens of a country, but only one right as children of God.  Our free will is our right as heirs to the kingdom.  We have the right to choose whether to walk with him or walk away from him.  Remember that there are consequences that come with our choices, specifically the ones that violate God's Word.  Choose wisely.