February 15 I Tuesday
“Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” —1 John 3:18
We have probably heard it read at weddings we have attended—Paul’s famous verses of what love is and what love is not. He writes, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Paul uses a series of verbs to describe what love is in these verses. One of the things this list reveals is that love is not mere words or sentimentality; love is a verb, an action word. In Matthew 5:43-44, Jesus describes a type of love that this world needs, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
About five years ago, our Living Truth team was in Lebanon, learning what the body of Christ was doing in response to the refugee crisis. Our team met one individual; he was part of the Lebanon Army. When Syria tried to invade Lebanon, he fought the Syrians, keeping them from being taken over. After the war and conflict ended, this man had a radical encounter with the person of Jesus Christ and his life completely changed.
When Syrian refugees started to pour over the mountains into Lebanon, they were not met with a warm reception because of the previous war. But this man, who had fought against these very Syrians fleeing into his country, felt the Lord Jesus say to him, “I want you to feed them. I want you to clothe them. I want you to care for them.” The man responded, “But they are my enemies. They killed some of my fellow countrymen.” Jesus answered, “Yes, but it is My love that is expressed best when it comes to loving your enemies.”
Obedient to Jesus, this man used his resources to feed the hungry, and to clothe the naked refugee who was running to him for shelter. His Christian brothers and sisters looked at his action and said, “How could you feed these people who tried to take over our country?” This man cared for anyone who came into his space, even Muslims. Other Christian brothers and sisters would say, “Don’t you realize that some of these people who are fleeing have beheaded Christians, have put them to death? They have hatred for you.” This man simply responds, “I am called to love them. I am called to care for them.”
Prayer: Precious Lord Jesus, convict my heart and bring to mind people I am withholding my love and care from. Teach me to love my enemy even though it is hard. Thank You, Lord.