How God Wants Us to Love
September 3, 2020
This morning I decided to listen to music instead of watching my usual news shows. I needed to find some peace while I ate my breakfast and before I started my day. So I looked over my CD’s (yes, I still use CD’s for my music) and selected one that was entitled Peace. It was actually a Christmas gift from my bank. One of the songs was Dionne Warwick’s 1965 song What the World Needs Now. Some of the lyrics are:
What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.
It’s the only thing there’s just too little of…
What the world needs now, is love, sweet love
No, not just for some, but for everyone….
This reminds me of a passage I read in “The Upper Room” which is a publication that comes to our church every few months. For the July 31st reading, Pam Hickerson wrote about 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. She calls 1 Corinthians 13 the love chapter. Most of us are familiar with verses 4-7 if not by reading the Bible, then by attending weddings since this is often the go-to scripture for that special celebration. It starts with Love is patient and kind, and then goes on to describe other characteristics of love. When these words are read at a wedding, it is the hope that the couple may achieve some sort of semblance of the love described here. Another way to look at this passage is that it describes how God loves us. So the question is, if God loves us in this way, how does God expect us to love others? Hickerson gives us the answer by suggesting that we replace the words Love and It with our own name or with simply “I” so that it reads:
I am patient and kind. I am not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
I do not demand my own way. I am not irritable, and I keep no record
Of being wronged. I do not rejoice about injustice but rejoice
When the truth wins out. I never give up, never lose faith,
I am always hopeful, and endure through every circumstance.
These are powerful words to consider when in a one on one relationship with someone and loving this way can be very effective in nurturing that relationship. However, when we consider these words on a more global plane and in light of what is going on in our world today, it seems like a tall order to fill. My knee jerk reaction is to say that it is absolutely necessary to keep a record of being wronged when it comes to social justice. After all, how can we go forward and make changes in our world if we don’t keep a record? Contemplating this and discussing this with my good friend Heather, I think the difference is what we do with that information. If we use that information to harm someone or a group of people, that is not love. On the other hand, if we use that information to learn from past mistakes and to motivate us to change the injustices done to others, that is right and truly Godly. Love is lifting up the powerless. And this scripture is clear that we do this without demanding what we want through acts of violence. Instead we are to be steadfast with faith and hope in our mission no matter what obstacles we encounter.
We are not going to be perfect in achieving the above, for we are not perfect people. To go forward with the goal of loving others like God loves us, we need God’s help. He is the One who ultimately has the power to enable us to meet the challenges of today with love, if we ask.
With love and peace,