To Love in 2023

To Love and Be Loved in 2023

It’s a new year, and I decided to approach the subject of love with some wise words from some notable folks. Max Lucado contends: “God loves you just as you are but too much to leave you that way.” Laura Summer offers: “The capacity to love and be loved is the point of our human existence.” Mother Teresa warns: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” Andrew Murray asserts, “Our love to God is measured by our everyday fellowship with others and the love it displays.”

When it comes to a simple definition of love, theologian Karl Barth gave this answer as a summary of his years of study of theology and church history: “Jesus loves me, this I know the Bible tells me so.”

In his Confessions, Augustine of Hippo defined what love looks like:
“What does love look like? It has hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men (people). That’s what love looks like.”

The Bible speaks of God as love and loving towards all sinners lost without His love in Jesus Christ, His Son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but save the world through him.” (John 3: 16)

Love is about God’s love for us and our love for God and each other. The apostle John says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear Friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (Summary of 1 John 4:7-21)

My prayer for anyone reading this column is that you will live in faith, hope, and love in 2023, but the greatest of these, is love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 outlines how we go about loving one another in the year ahead:
“Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast; it is not proud. It is not rude; it is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Remember, God is love. In verses 4-8 above, replace the word love/it with God. God empowers us to become more loving towards one another if we recognize and welcome His help.

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