Without a doubt the New Testament message is motivated and wrapped in this thing we call love. The most recognizable of all the teachings of Jesus is found in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world…” And of course, we can’t leave out the great love chapter penned by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter thirteen.
Jesus took love to an even higher plane when He declared the whole Old Testament Law could be summed up in loving God with all you are and loving your neighbor as yourself. Love, without a doubt, is the central motivation behind all that God has done for us and all that we should do for both Him and one another.
But when is love not genuine?
• Love is not genuine when we use it as a cover to keep sinning because we know God loves us anyway.
• Love is not genuine when we refuse to speak truth to people concerning the principles of the Word of God when we see them heading down a pathway of destruction.
• Love is not genuine when we refuse to receive truth spoken to us from those who sincerely love us.
• Love is not genuine when we use it as a weapon against one another to make us look more spiritual than the other.
Jesus challenged us with tough love scenarios:
• Jesus cleansed the temple with a whip not once but twice.
• He called many of the religious leaders and government leaders of His day, white washed tombs, snakes, sons of the devil, and foxes.
• He looked at His disciples on more than one occasion and said “oh you of little faith”.
• Jesus looked Peter squarely in the eye and said “satan, get behind me”.
• Jesus feed the 5,000 and then basically rebuked the crowds that followed Him because of what He could do for them rather than for who He was and what He genuinely desired to impart to them. (John 6)
• It is absolutely true that Jesus was a friend and lover of sinners, yet we must never forget His initial message was repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.
…In other words, He loved them enough to tell them the unvarnished truth they needed to know to enter abundant life!
Today many church people have become so religiously and politically correct that genuine love and righteous stands cannot be expressed without accusations of being judgmental, hypocritical, or unloving. You expect this to come from the world but not the people of God! They should be matured enough in their understanding of genuine love to know love must at times say and do the hard thing.
Jesus’ love was genuine. Is ours?