BOOK OF GOD'S PROMISES
J. Steven Lang
-- Loving other people doesn't mean being "in love" with everyone. "Warm-fuzzy"
love is easy -- until the emotion starts to fade, that is. But the human love
the Bible talks about isn't just a passing emotional state. It's something based
on choice. We choose to care about another person's welfare, even
if that person has hurt us, called us names, ignored us. Parents understand this
kind of love, for they keep loving their children even when the children don't
seem to love them back. It is similar -- but not as steadfast -- as God's love
for us. He loves us when we aren't at all lovable and then commands us to return
the favor -- that is, love other people as he loves us, and make giving,
not getting, the goal of our love.
Hatred stirs up quarrels, but
love covers all offenses.
A friend is always loyal, and a
brother is born to help in time of need.
"Do for others as
you would like them to do for you.
"Do you think you deserve credit merely
for loving those who love you? Even the sinners do that! And if you do good only
to those who do good to you, is that so wonderful? Even sinners do that much!
And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, what good is that? Even
sinners will lend to their own kind for a full return.
"Love your enemies!
Do good to them! Lend to them! And don't be concerned that they might not repay.
Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting
as children of the Most High, for he is kind to the unthankful and to those who
are wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate."
One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by
asking him this question: "Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?"
replied, "What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?"
The man answered,
"`You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your
strength, and all your mind.' And, `Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
Jesus told him. "Do this and you will live!"
Pay all your
debts, except the debt of love for others. You can never finish paying that! If
you love your neighbor, you will fulfill all the requirements of God's law. For
the commandments against adultery and murder and stealing and coveting -- and
any other commandment -- are all summed up in this one commandment: "Love your
neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to anyone, so love satisfies all of
If I could speak in any language in heaven
or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like
a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew
all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn't
love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could
speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody.
If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast
about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.
is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does
not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when
it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the
truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and
endures through every circumstance.
Love will last forever, but prophecy and
speaking in tongues and special knowledge will all disappear. For even our special
knowledge is incomplete, and our prophecy is incomplete. But when the end comes,
these special gifts will all disappear.
It's like this: When I was a child,
I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away
childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we
will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete,
but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.
are three things that will endure -- faith, hope, and love -- and the greatest
of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the
Christ is a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children,
too. We know we love God's children if we love God and obey his commandments.
1 John 5:1-2
See also Forgiving Others, Mercy.
The Book of God's Promises -- Copyright, 1999 by J.
Stephen Lang. All rights reserved, used with permission.