Christian Love Is Not Provoked
Today we present the topic, “Christian Love is not Provoked,” by presenting yet another example of the selfless actions of Jesus. We previously presented an overview of Christian Love in our post entitled (What-is-Christian-Love). In this posting we addressed Paul’s dissertation on the subject that are found in the First Letter to the Corinthians.
In the following scripture Jesus demonstrates that Christian Love is not provoked into sin or violence, but finds another way:
Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village. (Luke 9:51 – 56)
Reading this passage makes us think about our own actions and how we are prone to falling into a trap of retaliating against those who either do not understand or believe like we do. I would guess that this was the mistake made by Christianity during the times of the crusades and it is a flaw to radical Islam to believe that destruction of lives is God’s will as well. I know that every nation and people has the right to defend themselves from the murderous attacks of others but it is not God’s will that we kill. What does love have to do with being provoked to murder? To the contrary, it is God’s will that we love our enemies:
You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Mat 5:43-35)
On a smaller scale we have the religious battles of the denominations of Christianity that keep us from loving one another the way that Jesus calls us to. Certainly there has been the Catholic vs. Protestant conflict that raged in Ireland. While this may be viewed as an exception, less violent forms of this conflict exists across the denominations of Christianity.
Much of this has to do with the propaganda about who is right. While each denomination may have the same core beliefs in Jesus, they frequently have differing opinions about the acceptable behavior of Christian people. These differences often result in offensive statements and actions toward their brothers, and that is not a reflection of the loving actions we are called to by Jesus. Let me give some examples of these differing points of view.
Some Christians believe that modern technology is against God’s will and therefore live a life segregated in remote farming communities. Others believe that women should not where makeup and they frown on those who do. Some believe that it is a sin to eat meat on Fridays. A few believe that all dancing is the devils work. There are literally thousands of these types of examples and the point is that Christians have let them cut the body of Christ into thousands of unconnected pieces. This is not God’s will. I offer the following scriptures to support this statement:
Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. (Mark 9:38-41)
He who is not against us is on our side, and if Jesus is on our side then who can be against us?
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8: 31)
So how can we who believe in Jesus be against our brothers who also believe in Him? Let’s try to take Jesus’ advice and take another route. Let us love one another. If we are to love our enemies as ourselves then how much more should we love fellow Christians who also believe that Jesus is their Lord?
The purpose of these publications on the topic of love is to assist anyone who is seeking to become more like their savior Jesus Christ. Our approach is to communicate that the life and words of Jesus are the perfect model of what we hope to become. Our expectation is that the reader will contrast the words and actions of Jesus to their own to discover where they fall short of the perfect love. Once any shortcomings are identified then the reader can seek the assistance of the Holy Spirit to help them in moving closer to the perfection of the examples that Jesus left us.
We recommended that every person in ministry reflect upon their worthiness to serve by first studying these examples of Christian love.
We have presented a number of posting that address the principles of Christian Love. Each of them is reinforced by examples taken from the life and words of Jesus. The following list of hyperlinks is provided to help those interested in reading these other postings. Clicking on any of the links below will transfer you to the posting of your choice: