Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. -1 John 3:18
We all know we should love each other. Many times I've quoted to my kids the Golden Rule to "do unto others as you would want them to do to you"! (Matthew 7:12)
I never have a hard time coming up with how I would want to be treated, but why is it so hard to love others and do what I know they would want? Because it doesn't fit my schedule? It might cut into nap time? I might look foolish? I don't know them that well? They might think I'm silly? I'll just pray for them that God would provide for them. I'll tell them I'm praying for them next time I see them. Or better yet, I'll email them, because then we don't have to talk at all.
This is what I feel loving in word or talk means. Someone shares something with me like, "money's tight right now and I'm not sure how bills will go this month." And I say something like, "I'm sorry to hear that. I'll pray for you." Maybe I really do pray for them, that's great. Maybe I pray for them quick the next time I run into them so that I can tell them I prayed for them. That's not so great. Is that really love? Is that what I hope they would do for me if I was the one with the struggle?
So how do you love in deed and in truth? I'm not saying you shouldn't pray for them. I'm saying to truly love them the way Christ loves us we need to do more. I need to do more. The two verses preceding this verse says,
16By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
So when someone tells me money is tight, and God has given me money, I should give some to them.
When someone tells me they haven't had a date with their husband in 6 months, I should watch their kids and give them a date night.
When someone tells me they are having a bad day, I should send them flowers, or a gift card, or bring them some ice cream.
I don't even need to wait for someone to tell me something, I'm sure I could think of someone who needs some love. I don't even have to know them.
To truly love you will have to be vulnerable. You will have to be out of your comfort zone. You will have to be selfless. C. S. Lewis says this,
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love
anything, and your heart will certainly
be wrung and possibly be broken. If
you want to make sure of keeping it
intact, you must give your heart to no
one, not even to an animal. Wrap it
carefully round with hobbies and little
luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock
it up safe in the casket or coffin of
your selfishness. But in that casket -
safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will
change. It will not be broken; it will
become unbreakable, impenetrable,
irredeemable ... The only place
outside Heaven where you can be
perfectly safe from all the dangers of
love ... is Hell.
-C. S. Lewis
1 John 4:20-21 it says,
"If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Who do you need to love in deed today?
Lord, please help me to love the way You love: unselfish, unconditional, unpicky. That kind of love can only come from You. And if I truly love You, it can't stop inside me. It must then flow out of me to others. Help me to see others the way You created them and the way You see them, and love them in deed.