Pastor’s Ponderings: What is Love? (9/22/22)

Posted by on Sep 22, 2022 in FEATURED, Pastors Ponderings | 0 comments

On 9/22/22, Pastor Jim emailed the following thoughts about Unconditional Love…

 

Friends:

 
PLEASE READ: John 15:12-17

(Jesus said), “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.

Within the Christian community there is a lot of talk about “love.”  We are commanded by Jesus to “love one another” (see also John 15:12 & John 13:34).  The challenge with that is we tend to interpret “love” by our definitions, our preconditioning, or even our own life experiences.  While all of these should not be dismissed entirely, it is essential to understand the Biblical concept of “love.”  The love that God’s people are to model and strive after is called “unconditional love.”  This has its roots in the Greek word, agape.  It is a love which is demonstrated toward each one of us from God.  It is a love which keeps on loving those who may not deserve it.  To simplify it, we could define agape love as, goodwill toward all people, an unselfish love which loves in all circumstances, loves with no strings attached, and loves with no conditions placed upon that love.   That is a tall order our Lord gives us.  Yet it is non-negotiable if we are truly trying to be a growing disciple of Christ. In the pages of Scripture we see how Jesus teaches us and shows us how to love unconditionally.  Remember, in Jesus we see what God is like. In the person of Jesus, God in essence is saying, “Look, this is how I love all of you, my love is unconditional.  Nothing you can do will ever stop me from loving you!

And that is the challenge for everyone of us.  God’s people are not to withhold love from anyone.  WOW, does that fly in the face of cultural philosophies!  As growing and maturing Christians we must not say, “I will love you IF you are good to me,” or “I will love you IF you do what I want.”  To be like Jesus is to love unconditionally.  Even as He was being nailed to a cross, Jesus did not withhold love from the world (see Luke 23:34)!  As Charles Wesley wrote, “Amazing love, how can it be!”   It is the amazing agape love and it is this kind of love which God calls each one of us to model in our lives.

There is a story of famous military General who was once asked his opinion about a certain man….

The General said, “He is a fine and able man, and I commend him to you highly!”  The person asking the question said in a protesting tone, “But General, don’t you know the terrible things this man says about you?” 

The General responded by saying, “Yes, I know, but you didn’t ask how he felt about me.  You asked what I think of him, and I think he is a fine and able man, and I commend him to you highly.

That is unconditional love in action!  That is the agape love we are called to imitate as growing disciples of Jesus Christ.

Shalom,

Pastor Jim

 

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