We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
1 John 4:19
Love for God means love for our fellow man…
Each of us, when we dwell in faith, we abide in a sense of encompass grace that overwhelms our lives in the most basic, yet transcending of ways. It creates in us a clean heart and it restores a right spirit within us, teaching us of God’s ways as it blots out the iniquity of our sins. (Psalm 51:9-12) It instructs us in righteousness, showing us the path to our Heavenly Father as we walk in His precepts, protected by His rod and His staff until, at long last, we reach our final rest amidst His Kingdom and we come to eternity.
This is the love of God, a love that has looked upon the face of each of us, smiling upon us as He ransoms our lives through and by His hand. No longer are we poor, lost sinners kept in the most meager of estates as hopelessness and pain seems to surround our lives. Instead, through Christ we find the compassion that God has shown unto the world as He gives us all that we need to find redemption amidst our journeys through this temporal existence. It is truly the wondrous and encompassing blessing of our lives as we live amidst His truth, knowing that we have come to dwell in the peace that exceeds all human understanding.
Faith is therefore love, and just as faith without works proves itself to be dead (James 2:20) faith without love is as well as dwells in darkness and self interest and painful sorrow as it shows the face of vanity and conceit amidst its own hollow, futile sense of arrogance.
Yet through God we are taught to love. In the teachings of Christ we are told that if we are truly and rightly to be considered his disciples then we are to love our fellow man even as Christ first loved us. (John 13:34-35) It is a self sacrificing love that looks to the needs of others and shows mercy and compassion unto them, a love that looks upon the pain of others and seeks to do all that it can to alleviate it, a love that looks at the troubles that others face and does all that it can to rescue them from it. After all, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
If we are all brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, tied together, bound together through the grace of the Lord and the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the mystical unity of universal salvation then how much more should we be willing to do for one another as the times of trial and tribulation, as the moments of deep and abiding challenge are now upon them? How much more should we be willing to give of ourselves to our fellow man knowing that we have been bound to them in the love that God has for each and every one us in our lives?
Perhaps the world seems overwhelming. We have earthquakes in Haiti that claim the lives of the people, holding them and their families in the most fearful and pained places as they find that both literally and metaphorically their world crumbles underneath them. They have lost everything and now it seems as their world has ground to a stop as they are left to pick up the pieces without even knowing where to start. We have human traffickers who rob the innocent of their dignity, buying and selling human flesh as if by the pound, holding life to have no real worth or integrity to it. Girls are grabbed and drugged and sold into the sex trade, becoming nothing more than a hollow shell of a person as they are treated as nothing more than dolls for the amusement of the sick and the perverse.
For as much as we have advanced as a civilization still there are governments that persecute and oppress their people, casting them to dark dungeons or executing them for their disobedience as they try to grab hold of the rights we have been endowed by our Creator with and that most of us just take for granted. In some corners of the world genocide and gendericide is practiced as races are wiped out and mothers or daughters or sisters are beheaded in front of their families, all for the transgression of having been born different. Rebels and pirates take prisoners and hostages, selling them, beating them, murdering them, destroying lives through the chaos and anarchy they bring. They show contempt to human life and dignity as they do nothing but show their bitter hatred to their fellow man…
All are forms of captivity and bondage; all are forms of slavery that still abide in this world today. Perhaps they are different forms of it, an earthquake being a natural act while human trafficking remains an act of man. Yet they are all ways that the old Adversary, by bringing pain and suffering, sorrow and agony into this world, asserts his control and dominance over it.
It seems like it is too much for us to handle. We are not Special Forces Team or the Red Cross Aid Workers, we aren’t the Navy SEALS or some humanitarian group that is capable of putting an end to either the reign of terror of brutal men of bitter iniquity or to bring the necessary help to the regions of the world where it is so needed. What then is it possible for us to do?
It is possible for us to love our fellow man, and there to give of ourselves all that it is possible to give in our lives to help them. We may not be able to provide all that people need after a deadly earthquake hits, but we can organize our friends and our family and our work to provide what we can offer. We may not be able to end slavery in the world but we can give to the organizations that raise awareness and seek to bring it all to an end, that all might be made aware of tyranny and oppression in the world and feel compelled to do something about it. We may not be able to end piracy or human trafficking, but we can pray to our God for the victims of it knowing that He is always faithful, forever contending with the cause of His children through all that they face and all that they know.
Our obligation to love and to offer of ourselves and what we have does not just end because we feel overwhelmed by all the need out there, just as Christ never felt justified abandoning us because He suddenly came to realize that the sins of the world were too overwhelming for Him to take upon His shoulders. It means that we must give of ourselves all the more, knowing that even the smallest amount of time, even the smallest of gifts makes the biggest of differences in the eyes of God and the lives of those who have nothing. We may not be able to change the world, but in that moment, we can “be the change that we want to see in the world” as we abide in the love of the Lord through the service that we offer to our brothers and sisters throughout the world.
Serve in love and show forth the love of the Lord in your life, abiding in Christian service, abiding forever in the faith that we have in Christ Jesus through the works that you do. Live your life asking if you did enough, forever seeking to do more, that you make show the grace that God showed in your life and knowing that you have been saved and thus, in compassion and mercy, it is yours to offer of yourself in joy and thanksgiving for the gifts that have been given in your life by a Heavenly Father who cares for you and protects you throughout all of it.
Then shall you magnify and shine forth the light and the love and the life that God has intended for you through all of your days journeying amidst this temporal existence.
Lord, grant this unto us all.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.