The central message of Christ is LOVE. Jesus summarized the commandments into two short sentences: “Love God.” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27) But what is love? We dare not confuse “love” with “like”. There are people that we like that we would not say we love. Also we do not need to like someone to love them. We are called to love each other no matter what.
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way:God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this:that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this:those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. (1John 4: 7-21 – NRSV)
Paul says, “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4 – NRSV)
WOW! What if we loved everyone like this – how would that change the world! At Central we strive to love God which means we place God’s wishes above ours. At Central we strive to love all people which means we do what is best for others. Loving is often hard, but that is what God is about.
For more on “love”, see Luke 6: 27 – 36.
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