“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” – Romans 12:9-16
In the Greek language, there are four words to express love. They are agape, philos, eros and storge. Of the four, agape is the highest form of love. It is used to describe God’s love. It is not self-serving, feigning concern for an individual when only personal needs are sought.
God does not give us His love because of what we did. Instead, He gives it to us despite what we did. That is a love given freely that can never be earned.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was a perfect example of what love is all about. Daily, as he went about his life here on earth, he displayed love for the people around him.
Love is more than what we expect, it is what we can do and give without expecting something in return. The love of God comes to us because God really loves. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Bless those who persecute you. For the average person, this is quite difficult. One may dare to ask, “How can I bless a person who cursed me?” We are quick to invoke “an eye for an eye”.
In the Beatitudes, Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.” Again, in the Golden rule, he says, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Christian love calls for us Christians to walk in the footpath of Jesus.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Oh, it is so like us wanting to just go after our enemies and take revenge for the wrongs they do to us. Some of the most vindictive people I know are Christians.
They plot and scheme in the most evil ways to take revenge upon those who wronged them. When you see them at church on Sunday, they are most pious in their demeanor, particularly when they come to the communion rail.
Christianity is not so much what we say, but how we live. It is easy to hate and take revenge.
However, if ever you want to get back at those who wronged you, love them. People can deal with revenge, but they cannot deal with love in place of hate.
When you display love to those who did you wrong, you place them in a difficult situation. They will be suspicious of your good intention. But then, you can smile and live in peace with yourself.
Yes, this is not easy; it is most difficult for us humans. But, that is why we need Jesus to take control of our lives. In our baptism into his death and resurrection, we are renewed.
Daily, we plunge into the waters of baptism, and daily we are renewed. This life that the apostle talks about is a life that we can only live in Jesus Christ. No, we cannot do it on our own.
Our Lord helps us to deal with the complications of life. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone 426-9084; E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or website www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.