Dear Beloved Friend(s),
Yesterday my family and I had the privilege of entertaining one of my cousins and her husband on the evening of their 20th wedding anniversary. They came to Mackinac Island for their anniversary and on their way home to Minnesota wanted to spend some time with us. We had not seen each other for over a decade. They met Joy and Jay for the first time. I was touched that on the very day of their anniversary they would take the time to spend part of it with us.
As Mark and Linda left I thought how good it was to reconnect with family. We’ve not been able to be close due to distance and busy lives. Yet there was a yearning in our hearts to connect with each other. Something inside said, We are Obergs and we shouldn’t let that relationship slip away. That relationship is worth working at and giving time to. Frankly, I felt so loved last night by my cousin and her husband that I opened up and enjoyed myself in a way that just felt good. I guess I experienced the power of love in a tangible way because they took the time to care and reach out to us.
All of this has caused me to reexamine my own love toward others. If it felt this good to be loved by family I haven’t seen in a long time, what about the people I see everyday? Am I showing them the kind of love that will bless them and bring me fulfillment and joy in return? And what is that kind of love?
1 Peter 1:22 is one of the greatest descriptions of Christian love in the Bible. It says, Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply from the heart. This is how Christians are to love one another. Note the expressions of real love. We are to love each other with à à à
A spiritual love that is fulfilling (love for your brothers). “Love for your brothers” comes from the one word philadelphia which means affectionate love for the family of God. It refers to a spiritual relationship on a deep level that satisfies the need for closeness. So showing this kind of love is very rewarding because it touches our deepest longings for relationship.
A sacrificial love that is demanding (love one another). “Love one another” comes from the word agape that refers to sacrificial love. It forces us out of our comfort zones and requires us to think about what is best for the other person. That is very tough because we have to act on the basis of what others need not how we feel about them. So it requires choosing on the basis of mature thinking and refusing to let our emotions rule (or overrule) our actions.
A sincere love that is demonstrating (sincere love). “Sincere love . . . from the heart” means love in actions not just superficial words. Peter would agree that love is a verb not a noun. While love certainly includes what we say to others, it cannot stop there. Our actions must back up our words showing that the one we say we love is valued by how we treat them.
A steady love that is continuing (deeply from the heart). “Deeply” means constantly or continuously, not relaxing or tiring. People will disappoint us. But the beauty of Christian love is that we can keep on loving since Christian love never fails because it comes from God.
Your friend, in His love, Pastor Brian (:-}).