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THE BOOK OF GOD'S PROMISES

Loving Others

By J. Stephen Lang

CBN.com -- 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.

Proverbs 10:12

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.

Proverbs 17:17

"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."

Luke 6:31-36

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?"

Jesus 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.'"

"Right!" Jesus told him. "Do this and you will live!"

Luke 10:25-28

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 God's requirements.

Romans 13:8-10

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.

Love 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.

There 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

The Book of God's Promises -- Copyright, 1999 by J. Stephen Lang. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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