What Is Love?
If love were just a feeling the whole concept would be so much easier for us to manufacture. But true love isn’t just mushy sentiment. It’s action.
Remember at the end of the book of John, when Jesus is with a handful of His disciples? Peter, the brash and outspoken disciple–the one who had denied Him three times right before He was crucified–joins Jesus in a conversation.
“Peter, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord, You know I do.”
“Then feed my sheep.”
Three times this dialogue is repeated, indicating that feeding the sheep is an action which expresses love for Christ. God’s definition of love hasn’t changed. True love is a verb, not a noun. It’s service dressed in work clothes.
So how can we cultivate this kind of love in action for God and our fellow man?
Forgiven Much, Love Much
In Luke 7:36-50, we get a very vivid picture of love in action. An unnamed woman, known only by the designation of “sinner” or “immoral woman,” arrives at the house of a Pharisee named Simon.
Can’t you just imagine the hushed shock as she boldly strolls into the room with her alabaster vial of perfume? You can almost here the low murmurs and whispers. “What is she doing here?”
Shock must have turned to utter dismay and perhaps even loud protests as she uncorked the bottle and poured it on Jesus’ feet, wiping them with her tears and hair.
Being the devout Pharisee that he was, Simon immediately questioned Jesus in his thoughts. And Jesus, being the divine Son of God, knew it. “Simon, I have a question for you. A wealthy benefactor forgave two men who owed him money–one ten dollars and the other ten thousand–which one will love him most?”
“I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.” In his answer, Simon condemned himself. You see, he saw the woman as sinful and himself as without sin. His answer revealed not only his understanding of who Jesus really was, but also his lack of love.
To drive the point home, Jesus lectured Simon on his lack of hospitality, then turned to the woman: “Your sins are forgiven.”
Where We All Stand
I love the fact that the ground at the foot of the cross is level. All of humanity stands on an even playing field, with no one more holy than another. According to God’s Word we’re all in the same condition. Sinful.
And our sentence for being sinful creatures? The death penalty.
But thankfully, the story doesn’t end there.
While we were yet in weakness [powerless to help ourselves], at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) the ungodly. Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die. But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners (emphasis mine), Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us. -Romans 5:6-8 (AMP)
Wow. Pause and calmly think on that.
Christ, fully God and fully man, took our death penalty for us, forgiving our sins and reconciling us to holy Father God, while we were still sinners.
Only when we comprehend just how much we’ve been forgiven can we love God and others completely. Only then can we forgive the inexcusable in others, because we recognize that God, in His great mercy, has forgiven the inexcusable in us.
(Book 5 in the Miller’s Creek Novels)
Letting go to build a bridge…
A frightened runaway wants her painful past to disappear. A plan to start afresh is derailed when she co-inherits her late grandfather’s farm with the man responsible for the scars on her heart. But he isn’t the only ghost from the past. Someone else is out to get her and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Will they be able to lay aside their grudges to restore the old farmhouse and bridge, or will evil forces sabotage their attempt at forgiveness?
About the Author:
Cathy Bryant loves spinning tales about the fictional town of Miller’s Creek, Texas, where folks are friendly, the iced tea is sweet, and Mama Beth’s front porch beckons. When she’s not writing, you’ll find Cathy rummaging through thrift stores or up to her elbows in yet another home improvement project in the mountain cabin she shares with her minister husband of over thirty years. You can find out more about Cathy and the Miller’s Creek novels by visiting her website at www.CatBryant.com or by connecting with her at the sites below.