WHAT’S YOUR LOVE QUOTIENT? – ARE YOU LOVING THE RIGHT WAY??
For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.” Gal 5:14 (MSG)
Ever wondered why this instruction was repeated several times in the Scriptures? I know I have.
Love permeates the fibers of Christianity. It is evident by the example laid by our Lord Jesus when he so selflessly gave up his life for our sins. As Christians, we have a responsibility to live a Christ-like life. We have been given the nature of God when we were saved by grace, therefore, we have the capacity to love.
In Matthew 22: 36-39, Jesus sets out the two greatest commandments – Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind; and love your neighbour as yourself.
As Christians, how can we love others selflessly? By being our brother’s sister’s keeper.
The first reference in the Bible to the art of being our brother’s sister’s keeper can be found in the story of Cain and Abel. In Gen 4: 3-12, we read about Adam and Eve’s first two children – Cain and Abel. Cain was the first born, he worked as a farmer. Abel, on the other hand, was a shepherd. In due time, they both brought their offerings to the Lord – Cain brought some of his fruit produce while Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flocks.
Notice how the Bible described their gifts? Cain brought some of the fruits, while Abel brought fat portions from the firstborn of his flocks. Now, the Lord found Abel’s sacrifice acceptable but not Cain’s sacrifice. Of course, Cain was not too pleased about this development, in fact, he was very angry. The Lord warned Cain,
“Why this tantrum? Why the sulking? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce. It’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.”
(Gen 4: 6-7 MSG).
Did Cain take God’s warning seriously? He sure did not, because the next thing we read about him is how he lured his brother out to the fields and killed him.
Now I can imagine how many of us are clicking our tongues at this point, shaking our heads at Cain – silently judging him. Do you know that many of us have walked the same path as Cain? How do you love your brothers sisters? Do you pull them up or tear them down? Do you cheer them on through their successes and provide them with a solid shoulder to lean on during their difficult times? Do you respect them, love them, support them and encourage them? Do you judge them silently when they are struggling with sin or intercede for them? Are you the first one to spread bad gossip about a terrible thing that has befallen your brothers sisters? After Cain killed his brother, the Lord asked him about Abel’s whereabouts. Cain told the Lord, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”. How many of us have given the same answer to the Lord when the Holy Spirit nudges us about a fellow brother sister, or do you lend a hand to the brother sister in need?
While many of us have not physically murdered our brothers sisters like Cain did, our actions and words have had the same effect on them. What God require from us is to love our brother sister as we love ourselves. Our manual on how to love each other is set out in 1 Corinthians 13: 1-10 (MSG):
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day and if I have faith that says to the mountain, “Jump” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have
Love doesn’t strut
Doesn’t have a swelled head
Doesn’t force itself on others
Isn’t always “me first”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back, but keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.
God wants us to love our neighbour the same way we love ourselves, the same way Christ loved the church. That instruction is a tough one to achieve, humanly as man’s innate desire is to be selfish and think only of himself. But this is why Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. (John 16:13). When the Holy Spirit dwells within us, loving the Christ-way becomes effortless because love is a fruit of the spirit.
First, remember that love is proactive. In today’s world, everyone is busy pursuing their daily bread and trying to make ends meet that people forget to be kind to one another. Slow down today and listen to the Spirit, be sensitive enough to be aware of God’s push to be a source of blessing for your neighbour.
Second, be responsive. When you notice your neighbour is in need, what do you do? Turn your eyes away and tell yourself someone else will help him out? Or do you immediately start to find out ways you can be of service to him or her?
Third, be observant. Sometimes, people are in dire need around you but have not verbalized their silent cry for help. It might be a prayer need, encouragement need, financial need or emotional support that your neighbour needs, but if you are too caught up in yourself, you will fail to notice the warning signs.
Forth, be compassionate. Don’t be eager to listen to ‘juicy’ gossip about your neighbour just to satisfy your curiosity. Be careful about jumping to conclusions or judging them for their failings. Remember to remove the log in your own eyes before removing the speck in your neighbour’s eyes. Put yourself in their shoes. If you cannot empathise, be compassionate.
Five, know that it will cost you. Love is a costly venture. It will take your time, your money, your emotions and other resources. Be ready to give without holding back when you choose to love your neighbour. Love is inopportune, it does not wait for the most convenient time for you. Be ready to suffer inconvenience when you love Christ-way.
Take a moment today to check yourself. What is your Love Quotient? Are you loving your neighbours right?
Writer: Tomilola Adebiyi