Article: Selfless Love in a Loveless World | Sarah Thomas (Joshua), AUS

Mother Teresa once said being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for is the greatest poverty. It applies not only to the orphans of Kolkata slums, but also to families, churches, and the world in general. We have beautiful houses, church buildings, and technologically advanced sound systems but the absence of brotherly love is sadly evident. Fundamentally man is incapable of loving like God but receiving it by faith enables God’s love to be poured into our hearts, empowering us to love God, ourselves, and others.

Loving God
God created man with a unique ability to build strong relations with God and others. However, through sin, man fell and is incapable of love as intended by God. 1 John 4:19 beautifully summarises this by stating that it has now become an opportunity for God to display his amazing grace and love to fallen mankind. It is impossible to comprehend the depth of God’s love nor can we out-love God’s love. However, the insight into His unmerited favour upon us will change our spiritual life. To fulfil the first commandment in Mathew 22:37 we must single-mindedly pursue God’s kingdom and His righteousness. Loving God is to carry His presence daily in what you do and that’s true worship. Equipping our youth with real God’s love will make them immune to all counterfeit love out there.

Loving Self
There is a lot of emphasis on self-love these days and it is advocated as the panacea for all problems. However, our identity is in Christ and a clear assurance that we are complete in Christ (Col. 3) will help the youth to resist the pressure of fitting in. The cosmetic industry should not dictate what we do with our bodies. As our bodies are the temple of Christ, we should give utmost care to them. Doing skin care routines, strength training, and body building though essential for our health and well-being but when it becomes an obsession it is a sin so are other addictions. The message translation of Psalms 147:10 says the size of our muscles means little to him. Also, I Tim 4:8 NLT -physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better. It has eternal value. Not training our spiritual muscles and nurturing our inner man is a sin of omission. Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting (Prov 31) but working on inner beauty and virtues is long-lasting. Love the way God created you. Let not any external or internal, negative self-chatter or peer pressure tell you that you are not good enough. Have that strongly engraved in your soul and build loving relationships.

Loving Others
Interacting with people has always brought a sense of love and joy in me from brief encounters to hour-long discussions. It is a blessing to be able to love and receive love. Along with all those loving relationships are those who teach us valuable lessons of endurance and patience. As the Word says love covers all offences. Unconditional love and radical forgiveness are the pillars for a successful relationship. Love, patience, and long suffering being fruits of the Holy Spirit enables us to do so. I Cor 13 describes the attributes of love clearly and that it should be a guideline when choosing the right relationships. Love is patient, and kind, and does not keep account of evildoing. Hence it is liberating to love beyond limits and not based on what someone did or not.

Final Thoughts
Another exercise that might help you this year will be being comfortable with not everyone liking you. Dealing with being disliked or rejected positively will push you to success. It is freedom in itself. Past hurts disable people from accepting love. Unreciprocated love or lost love always creates pain and hurt in people and might even lead to harmful consequences including suicide. As Bruce Coville says, nothing you love is lost. Things and people, always go away, sooner or later. But if they’ve touched you, they are still there. The only things you ever have are the ones you hold inside your heart. We must encourage conversations for those who are struggling with such challenges. Jesus was never “too holy ‘not to talk to the Samaritan woman thinking that it would affect his reputation. Jesus genuinely loved people and showed compassion. However, he was clear about his purpose and didn’t try to be in the good books of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
However hard or bitter your experiences with people, do not confuse it with love. Love is love as God is love so we cannot be sceptical when loving people. Loving your neighbour as yourself is not optional, it is a commandment just as baptism and others are. If we could love people wholeheartedly or at least make the effort to do so our churches would be heaven on earth, and we can change the world. I wholeheartedly pray that all Igniters will be ambassadors of selfless love and heal the world.



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