Google+ 08/24/13 Don't Hug to Hurt, but Live to Love!

1 John 3:17-19

 

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—

How can God’s love be in that person?

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.

Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.

 

In part six of our seven-part devotion series entitled, "Actions Speak Louder Than Words," we turn once again to the wise words of God through James, the half-brother of Jesus.  Because money was such an important and volatile subject in Biblical times (not much has changed!), James uses a monetary example of how our actions must match our words.  Notice that James states that if we can't share what we have with those that are less fortunate, God's love is simply not present in our lives.  The boldness of James's next statement brings much comfort to my heart as a minister.  James says it is not enough to say we love each other.  We must show it by our actions.  He concludes by saying that our actions, not our words, show that we stand for God's truth and that God will judge us favorably when we arrive at His throne room on the glorious day of Christ's second coming.  In our world today, we are often faced with lots of "lip service" and not much genuine, loving action.  As a pastor, I see way too much of this every day.  Don't tell me you love me to my face, and gossip about me behind my back!  Don't say you will do anything for someone and then abandon them in their greatest time of need, simply because they weren't on your Outlook calendar for the day.  If we truly love each other, we accept the whole package in everyone,  which is the great, and not-so-great.  In love, we talk with our friends and family about those actions that don't look Godly or have hurt someone's feelings.  A few weeks ago, we completed a short devotion series on gossip and slander.  We know these are two of the most often used tools of the devil to divide Christians.  What we did not discuss is the long-term ramifications or our negative actions.  We are currently preparing at By Your Side Ministries our October production of "Fiddler on the Roof."  There is a song that occurs in the Broadway show that was left out of the movie called "The Rumor."  This song documents, through different voices, what happens when we all play the famous "telephone game."  What may start as something close to the truth gets confused, twisted, and grossly changed through the repeating of statements like, "Did you hear what ________did?"  Fill in the blank with whatever name you like.  Even after apologies are made and people are forgiven, the long-term scars of being hurt and defamed really never go away.  Rebuilding these relationships often takes years.  That is why the Bible encourages us to not let the sun go down on anger or discord.  It just makes it worse.  Jesus commanded us to love one another.  Love is an action and a lifestyle, not a word.  The word Jesus most often used for this kind of love is the Greek word "agape."  Agape is unconditional love.  No reservations and no strings attached.  Today as we stroll down the briar pathways of life, our lives must reflect our words correctly.  As you embrace someone, make sure you are not looking for the soft spot in their back to place the knife later.  In short, "Don't Hug to Hurt, but Live to Love!"