They shall know us by our LOVE

Taking a break from Faith to talk about Love … for “if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (I Corinthians 13)

During a recent Bible study our pastor shared a story from a leadership conference he had attended.

He was among a group of people from various professions, from teachers and accountants to police and government officials — all leaders in their field.

One of the group sessions consisted of each person having a piece of paper taped to their back with a typical high school stereotype (Jock, cheerleader, computer nerd, loner, etc.). Then as everyone moved around the room, people would write their thoughts about that stereotype.

Remarkably, the paper on our pastor’s back said “Christian Kid.” The responses varied, but a great deal of them were quite negative. from the inane “Goody two shoes” to the heavier “ignorant,” “hypocrite,” and “racist.”

Keep in mind, these responses were not from the average person, but from those that are leaders in their field. Disappointing for sure, but what it really means is we as Christians have some work to do on the PR front.

I believe for far too long we have allowed the Westboro Baptist Churches of the world spew their message of hate and set the example to the world as to what Christians stand for. 

In the Baptist Church I grew up in the motto was “They shall know us by our love.”

It comes from scripture.

John 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

We are to LOVE one another as God LOVES us. So it should pretty much go without saying that GOD doesn’t hate anybody, and neither should we.

He commands us to LOVE one another, and I take that to mean everybody. He didn’t say to only love those of the same race or color, or to only love those with a like mind or the same social standing, or dare I say only love those with the same sexual orientation. 

He said to LOVE EVERYBODY. And that is how the world will know that we are his followers.

As I write this I have the song “Heartbeat” from The Fray in my head with the lyrics, “if you Love someone, you Love’em all the same.”

So if the world sees people holding up signs saying “God hates” we need to stand up and speak the Truth and show what God really stands for … Love. Lest we be lumped in with these misguided individuals.

So if we are to show Love we need to first know what Love is.
I Corintians 13:4-8 says:
“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.”
 
This is one of my favorite passages, but I got a new perspective on it recently when our pastor challenged us to insert our name where it says “Love” and see if it holds up.
 
Are we patient, are we kind? Are we easily angered, do we hold grudges?
Are we living the life that when people see us they will know that we are Christians by our Love.
 
And that is what it boils down to. If we want the world to have the correct perception of what a Christian is, we need to live it every day. 
 
Then just maybe, they will know us by our LOVE.
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