This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. (1 John 3:11)
The bible is literally filled to overflowing with great and meaningful messages. Yet, of all the messages written in the scriptures, the greatest of all is to love one another. It’s been said many times and many ways. We are told to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to love one another. This is, perhaps, the greatest Christian tradition – the giving and receiving of Christian uplifting, accepting and redeeming love, or agape.
If we look around us or think about the people in our lives, surely there are some that we find very difficult, if not impossible, to love. To better understand this, it is helpful to know the five different kinds of love identified by the Greeks. They are: sexual or romantic love, the love of a parent for a child, the love of a child for a parent, the tender loving of siblings or close friends, and agape. Agape, or Christian love, is what sets the message of the bible apart from all else. Since agape means seeking the highest good in any person, we can try to extend to all a sense of agape.
Sometimes it is hard to find or even identify that highest good, yet it does exist. Every human being is a creation of God and has some possibility of redemption, regardless how well hidden or how infinitesimally small it may be. And, in rare cases where we truly do find it impossible to love, we can pray to God to do it for us. Some things are simply too great or too large for us to do, but nothing is too large for God. When we feel weak and unable, God is strong and able. He can (and does) love every one of His children.
Biblical commentaries tell us: The third chapter of 1 John speaks of the importance of the demonstration of a proper attitude, love, as evidence of genuine faith. John presented love as the proof that we have passed from death into life. He located the chief revelation in love in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. The chief manner in which we, as believers, demonstrate our love is by our kindness and mercy in ministry to others.
Let us continue that ministry of love, reaching out with agape to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. If we are unable to do so, may we humbly pray to God to help us or to do it for us through His redeeming and eternal love.
References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock, The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur and Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor.
Columbia Prayer Chain: Thursday, January 31
In our prayers: Claudia Strattman, Jennifer Williams, Betty Jo Carson, Gary Davis, Eddie Bolton, Myrna, Esther, Pam James, Doug and Sharon, John Kelchner, Elizabeth Matthews, Nedrick Griffin, Jennifer Handy, Nancy Stuckey, Annemarie Sullivan, Rachel and Randy Wurtzbaugh, Patty Peckham, Denise Byrd, Greg and Lisa Steele, Dean Timothy Jones, Linda Langford, Marty Fritz, Harriet Hancock, Tommy and Robby Palmer, Patty and Ted Mac Laughlin, Janet Long, Bobby Wilson, Debbie and Pat Barry, Betty Jo Sullivan, Patrick and Patricia Barry, Jordan Hill, Doris Clevenger, Charles Sigel, Bob Davis, John Whatley, Nancy Zuckerman, Charles Davis Sr., Bill Carter, Betty Peavy Frick, Joye Cantrell, Fred and Gail, Dale and Norma Sessions, Padge Arrington, Jerry Callahan, Norman Masters
Special prayers for Mary Ellen’s four-year-old grandson, Joseph Patrick, who is fighting cancer
In memoriam: Joseph William Boykin Sr., Kathleen Marie Indihar Broome, Austin C. Cloyd, Ann Palmer Dawkins, Benjamin Edmonds, Catherine Pauline Greenwood, Betty L. King, Hattie R. Haulbrook, Nancy Jean Jeffcoat, Jeremy Thomas Letton, Dan Lowell Thomas
Our prayers are with: the elderly, the homeless, all currently fighting illness, all beloved pets, our president and congress, our police officers and firefighters, all who serve in the armed forces
Columbia Prayer Chain is open to all residents of greater Columbia who would like to share prayers and receive the prayers of others. Please leave your name in the comment box or email me.