By Art McElroy, Contributing Writer
February is officially recognized as the month of love. People all over the world will spend time and money on the 14th in order to show someone their affections. I will too!
It is the love expressed on this happy day that has prompted me to write this article. I do not have anything against Valentine’s Day, but I certainly do not believe this holiday or cupid and his arrow have anything to do with love.
The world seems to display actions contrary to what the month of February represents. It will take more than a February kind of love in order to truly heal. The kind of love that I am speaking of is a noun. By definition, a noun is defined as a person, place, or thing. Love is something that has actual sustenance and life. Love is something that you neither fall in or out of. Anything short of this, is nothing but a February kind of love.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, and it never loses faith. It is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever! If love is all of this, then why are so many suffering in the name of it?
It appears that more hateful comments and attacks are being committed against all types of people and groups every day. What is most troubling is that many of these acts are confidently committed in the name of God and Jesus. This type of discrimination stems from a misinterpretation of God’s word and His plan that is detailed in it. We are shooting arrows to others, but many are not of love. This is not Love!
This is what makes this a difficult article to write. I am pained to see and hear the suffering of others brought on by Christians. Though I understand that actions are based on the level of maturity and knowledge that we have of Jesus, it still hurts. I am disturbed to see so many Christians speak for God when it comes to the judgment of many, while others are standing idly by without saying a word in defense of those being prosecuted.
Why is it so prevalent in the Church? Why do so many of us find it necessary to act as if we sat in on the development of God’s plan and advised Him on it? What makes a person feel qualified in casting others to hell by using the few scriptures that they know as justification? Why is this month used as a barometer of love, when more than a February kind of love is needed?
Perhaps it is because many of us cannot comprehend the plan of God or do not properly apply His Word to our lives. Scripture is being used out of context, which causes us to pass indictment on others as if we do not sin. Caution declares that a lack of understanding of the Bible will allow Christians to slide from a position of victory and celebration, to a place of despair that includes guilt and condemnation of themselves and others.
It is important to understand that I firmly believe that the responsibility of learning, applying, and growing in God’s Word belongs to each Christian. However, there are instances in which the Word of God is not being taught and presented properly either.
Some church leaders are not providing the full context of scripture. As opposed to a strict diet of meat (God’s Word), many in the flock are left with a diet of meat by-product (a meat substitute) that does not sustain or allow the believer to grow and mature, causing one’s behavior to never change. This leaves the Christian to flounder alone and struggle to live a life worthy of his calling. Unfortunately, instead of guiding the new Christian, others pass judgment on him.
So what is the solution? How do we get to a place where love is more than what the month of February offers? How can we change our approach toward those who act out as a result of not being as mature in God’s Word as some may be?
John 1:29 – “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
1 John 2:1 – “… and if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
1 John 2:2 – “… and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
Romans 4:8 – “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.”
2 Thessalonians 3:5 – “May the Lord direct your hearts into the Love of God and into the patience of Christ.”
It is our responsibility as Christians to express a love that is more than what the month of February represents. We are to consider one another, giving responses of love and inclusiveness that is rooted in the knowledge and remembrance of what God has done for us.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Art McElroy is the founder of The Penuel Group, Inc. Please visit The Penuel Group on the web at www.thepenuelgroup.com. You can also contact Art at firstname.lastname@example.org.