Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sacrificial love

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Love Is Not Selfish

1 Cor 13:5-6 – It (love) is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” NIV

Sacrificial love opposes our instinctive human selfishness. From the time we are babies, we are programmed to seek gratification. There is nothing wrong with wanting satisfaction. Problems result from our always seeking satisfaction from getting what we want in a physical way, instead of longer lasting spiritual satisfaction.  Lasting satisfaction is best received from giving. There is no satisfaction in getting, as we always want more. But in giving, we can always give more and be blessed more.

While the squealing wheel may get the most grease, it will also be discarded at the first opportunity. Rudeness and demanding our way may get quick action, but it will not build lasting relationships. My grandson Gabriel’s smile and his outreaching arms touch my heart and seal our relationship as demanding fit pitching will never do.

“Honey attracts more flies than vinegar.” This saying is another way of expressing the value of positive reinforcement. Our personal relationships with God and with our family are blessed by an attitude of service and praise, rather than a critical spirit that finds fault and says hurtful things.  Relationships in the family of God must be based on mercy and love, if we are to prosper. 

Anger usually results from our failing to get things to go our way. Righteous anger may result from wrong actions by others, but we do not have to set things right by ourselves. We need to remember that there is one Judge, who will repay all according to their actions. There is no escape from righteous judgment, and we do not have to personally administer justice in order for justice to be done. We should do our part as citizens to enforce civil law, but our attitude should be the support of justice instead of seeking personal revenge.

The Law of Moses set forth the righteous principle of dealing with problems between people, Lev 19:17-18 –- “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” NKJV

Apostle Paul speaks to this principle in Rom 12:19-21 – “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,’ says the Lord. ‘BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.’”

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” NASU

Love does not seek its own way at all costs, but is also concerned about the needs of others. Jesus said, Luke 6:30-36“Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” NKJV

This kind of love is difficult for us, because it is counter to our instinctive selfish view of things. It is of interest that Jesus taught that the love of God and love of neighbor is the foundation of the Law and Prophets, and it is still the foundation of our being bound together by love in the family of God. 

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