LOVE IS LEARNED
So many little ones are born to parents who do not love
them. Some are born to those who did not want them in the first place.
It may seem inconceivable that someone could give birth to a child and then
not love that child, but that is a frequent reality. Assuming that
child is allowed to grow up in an atmosphere where his very presence is resented,
what kind of adult do you suppose he will become? We are constantly
reminded of the varied abuse which many children suffer, and we are told
that much of that abuse comes at the hands of those who were abused themselves.
The abusers learned their habits from those who abused them.
GOD’S LOVE FOR US
We also learn love from those who love us. You and
I would not know how to love if it were not for the love of God toward us.
The apostle John wrote, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
How much did he love us? He “so” loved us...he loved us enough to send
Jesus to die for us (John 3:16). He “loved us with love,” for such
is the meaning of the language in Ephesians2:4-5.
This love was demonstrated toward people who had not merited
such affection. Notice Romans 5:6-8, “For when we were yet without
strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for
a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would
even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we
were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
His love accounts for the privileged position we enjoy
as “sons of God,” and is celebrated in 1 John 3:1, “Behold what matter of
love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons
The characteristics of love are beautifully set forth
in 1 Corinthians 13. While space does not permit discussion of
these characteristics, each and every one is deserving of our close study
LOVE WILL SOUND A WARNING
Some seem to be under the impression that love is blind
and cannot detect flaws and imperfections. While it is true that we
should be able to overlook some things in our various relationships, it is
also true that love will sound the warning when one’s practice is out of
harmony with the will of God. God instructed the prophet that he had
a responsibility to be a watchman. If he should not warn the wicked
of his way, then he had failed in the responsibility that the Lord had placed
upon him (Ezekiel 3:17-22; Ezekiel 33:6-9).
INDULGENCE IS NOT LOVE
There are those today who not only do not warn the wicked
of their way, but actually promote the setting aside of God’s law in order
to accommodate the ungodly practices of those whom they claim to love.
Such irresponsibility reflects a lack of love, not a demonstration of it.
Such do not truly love God or his word. What they think of as love
for their constituency is actually indulgence. There is no way that
such will result in the conversion of the sinner. It will only sabotage
the sinner’s possibilities, for it encourages him to continue in his sin,
or to involve himself in something he may have been restrained from otherwise.
This is what is happening in some teaching regarding divorce and remarriage.
Some teachers are just attempting to “re-write” the scriptures - something
gospel preachers have rebuked the sectarians about for years. Why not
simply admit that they are not going to be bound by what the Bible says,
rather than making a claim that they respect it.
CONFUSION ABOUT GOOD AND EVIL
Sometimes, those who are trying to hold fast to the pattern
of sound words (2 Timothy 1:13) are reproached for their “lack of love.”
Certainly, anyone who teaches must “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15)
Let us be sure, however, that it is the truth that is being spoken, not something
designed to give endorsement to immorality. While some would probably
deny it, they likely would castigate the Lord Jesus or the Apostle Paul for
their outspoken denunciation of sin. These are calling evil good and
good evil (see Isaiah 5:20). In every age there have been those who
have catered to the likes and dislikes of the people. They do not serve
the cause of righteousness, no matter how pious their demeanor.