4 years ago I was asked a question about how practically we are to love one another in our world and oppose war.
I trried to anser that question in a post that provided so much of my opinions, that I want to repeat what I said then
here on this blog post.
4 years ago :: Oct 25, 2007 –
How do we practically love each other? When we became saved, the Holy Spirt began to dwell in us. The Holy Spirit prompts us and guides us in the ways of God. John 16:13 Jesus says, “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth.” The Holy Spirit begins to sanctify us, to conform us to Christ’s image. Reading scripture and immersing ourselves in God’s Word is critical. We must know Scripture. Isaiah 48:18 “If only you had paid attention to My commands. Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” The Holy Spirit reveals the mind of God to each person continuously and individually.” 1 Cor. 2:10.
Jesus says the two greatest commands are that we love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls and love our neighbor as ourselves. He tells us we show our love for him by following his commands. And we should seek to love one another the way Jesus loves us. (John 14:15 Jesus says “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” and John 15:12 “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” and John 15:17 “This is my command: Love each other.” That takes us to the cross and thinking about how great God’s love was for us all, that he sacrificed his only begotten son to be crucified on the cross to save us.
Jesus words refers to the crucifixion, telling us we should be prepared to sacrifice ourselves for each other. It is an agape love, wanting what is good for others, genuinely caring about others, having empathy for other’s pain and suffering, seeing each person as a special creation of God who God loves, respecting the value of human life (all life), loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Who is our neighbor? Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan, who helped a Jew who had been robbed and left hurt on the road. The Samaritan (Samaritans were not viewed in a favorable light by Jews and were looked down on) felt compassion when he saw the hurt Jew and did everything he could to help him. We are told we should act like the Good Samaritan acted. We should help those we encounter who are in need, even our enemies.
Jesus tells his disciples over and over to love one another, speaking of the command at times as a new command. I believe this is because he is telling us his life is the guide post. John 13:34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
Jesus tells us many things and gives us many warnings in the Sermon on the Mount. Do not worry. Do not be afraid. Love our enemies. Do not judge others. Ask and we will receive. Seek and we will find. Knock and the door will be opened. In the Beatitudes, Jesus sums up his value system. The ones who are blessed are those who are poor in spirit (those totally dependent on God as the source of their life and strength) , who mourn for their sins, who are meek, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, who demonstrate mercy, who are pure in heart, who are peacemakers, who endure persecution in the name of Christ.
Back to your question, how do we love one another the way Jesus asks us to do? I just realized I wrote a song trying to answer this question. It’s rather long. I will share parts of it that are most relevant to the question in a separate post.
And what can we do about Iraq? I see my life as a journey. Jesus is my Saviour and I seek to follow where he leads me and to put my trust in him alone. I seek to be closer to Christ and become more like Christ. I pray for God to show me how to love others the way he wants me to love them. I pray for God to show me truth and I not be deceived, no matter how painful that truth is. This last prayer has led to God placing burdens on my heart about hurting people, people suffering from injustice and wars in Lebanon, Palestinian Occupied Territories, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Congo, etc. I feel empathy and compassion over their suffering and I suffer with them and Christ (who I know is looking down and his heart is breaking over the horrible things happening to human beings he created), and I pray prayers of intercession for them and my love for them grows stronger and I see more clearly Christ’s love for all of us and I grow spiritually. I can do little for them, that I physically see. But I know there is great power in prayer and one day I believe I will see the differences that made. And I speak out against the injustices and unjust wars and people using hate and fear tactics to get support for US wars. Because of what I saw in Lebanon in the 2006 war and what I learned form God about wars as I sought answers to questions, I have come to believe wars are evil and disobedience to God and I renounce them. We are told over and over to not hate and fear people, in the Bible. We are told to love our enemies. And Jesus is our example to follow. We are free because of Christ. He is the truth that sets us free. To fear and hate Muslims or Arabs or anyone else only robs us of the freedom we have in Christ and blinds us to God’s truths and distorts our perceptions of our world. Let us not be afraid of those different from us. Rather than try to invade and occupy and install puppet regimes in countries, let us reach out and have dialogue with these nations and find ways to co-exist in peace, despite our differences. Iraq and Iran had nothing to do with 9/11 and are not a threat to us. I do not support the Iraq War. It was illegal under the UN Charter and international law. I see it as against the teachings of Jesus. I do not see Iraq as my enemy (or any of their residents) or Iran as my enemy or Hamas as my enemy or Hezbullah as my enemy or Islamic governments as enemies. I do not fear or hate any of them. None of them are a threat to the US or me.
April 2, 2012