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This Thing Called Love

By: Denise Willis

As a believer in the Body of Christ, it is imperative to love as Christ loves. Too often we mistake acceptance for love, withdrawing it from those who may need it most.  We think that if we embrace them or love them, we are accepting the very thing with which we disagree. When we love as Christ loved we do so in a way that points them towards him and away from sin.

Throughout the Bible, we see examples of how Christ loved. In our day and age, our progressive society often wants our display of love to include the embracing of sin.

While Jesus was speaking to the woman at the well (something not done in those days because Samaritans and Jews did not have dealings with one another), He acknowledged her sin (by asking her to call her husband, knowing she did not have one). Though this woman was living a sinful life, she was not condemned but rather drawn to change her life (John 4).

Another familiar example is the woman caught in adultery. In today’s society, she most likely would have been condemned and shamed on social media. Though what she was doing was wrong, Jesus took a very different approach than her accusers. It is unknown what Jesus wrote in the sand, but whatever it was encouraged her accusers to walk away and no longer condemn her. This act did not make her sin ok, but rather showed her a Savior who loved her and was willing and able to wash her sins away.

These are two examples that I remember as I encounter those shrouded with sin. I realize first that I, like the women mentioned here, am not without sin. Our sins may not be the same, but sin is sin, and the wages of all sin is death (Romans 6:23a).

As women in ministry, we may find it easier to display love to the worn and torn soul, to the soul seeking Jesus in a sinful world. Perhaps you have come across someone with a similar background as the Samaritan woman or the woman caught in adultery. Maybe you have found yourself, like Jesus, not condemning but rather pointing them to a life filled with forgiveness and salvation.

Let’s take a moment to look more closely at forgiveness and how it is related to love. Do you find yourself easily able to love others when you also are in need of forgiving them? It is possible that you have faced a situation that required love coupled with forgiveness? Has it been challenging to love when someone hurt you? What does the Bible say about this?

1 Corinthians 13: 1-8, 13 talks in depth about love. These scriptures leave quite a bit for us to ponder. Are we extending love in all situations even those that require forgiveness? It may seem far more challenging to offer love to someone who consistently lands in the same predicament over and over again, or perhaps to someone who has offended you or purposefully hurt you. It may seem challenging, but it is necessary. As believers, we are to be an example of Christ.

Consider the fruit of the spirit found in Galatians 5:22. The first fruit listed is love. Following love, we see joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Allowing love to take the forefront and guide your actions makes it easier to forgive and walk in love toward the repeat offender, to those who hurt you, those who seek to do harm to your feelings or even your reputation. When love takes the lead, forgiveness is possible.

 

When we love, whether it be guiding someone toward Christ or forgiving someone who has hurt us, we can then begin to understand who God is. The same God who loved and loves us. The same God who sent his son, Jesus, so that we have the opportunity to be forgiven, live life on Earth with him in our hearts and spend eternity with him (Romans 10:9-10). When we love, we can begin to understand who God is because he, himself, is love.

I encourage you to take a moment to check your heart. Has it followed the scripture in the ways of love? If not, pray that going forward you would choose to love as Christ loves. If you are already on the path of loving as Christ loves, I encourage you to continue. May the blessings of the Lord rest upon your life.

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DeNise Gerst is a veteran teacher in the public school system.  She is a worshipper who ministers God’s love through song and liturgical dance.  DeNise is an author and has published three books.  Her latest book “How to Survive in the Public School System: As a Christian Educator,” was recently released this summer.  She has served in various roles within her church and community.  She currently serves alongside her husband, John, who is Senior Pastor and co-founder of Take Authority International Ministries in Charlotte, NC.  They have one handsome son.
You can check out Contagiousjoy4him & our statement of faith here. We Believe.   You can check our Founder and Directors’s speaking schedule here.  Find out more about Diane and our writing team.

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