Love must be seen in our denominations. Many denominations are going through difficult times. The issues are serious. Some cut to the heart of what we believe and others to disagreements on how best to live out the Bible. As church leaders, we should be setting an example of love in disagreements and conflict.
Love should be a ubiquitous characteristic among Christians. The scriptures are replete in calling for this emphasis on love in the life of every Christian. Jesus answers the Pharisees that love for God and others were the greatest commandments.
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:37–40 (ESV)
The world speaks of love but really they only mean acceptance. Worldly love is predicated on set conditions. In the church, love is much deeper. Love does not just accept people, it works for their best interest. Christian love should be a much greater love. The church is a place where worldly distinctions are melted away by an intense love fired by a common salvation, a shared hope, and the powerful indwelling by the Holy Spirit. It is a love that is active and involved. The early church father Tertullian wrote how the pagans noted the evident love Christians had for each other.
“But it is mainly the deeds of love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. See, they say, how they love one another, for they themselves are animated by mutual hatred.”
Love is at the center of Christianity. God’s gracious and merciful love for sinners is at the heart of the gospel. Once experienced, the Gospel brings a genuine love for God and develops a love for all men. Apostle John speaks about this truth in his First Epistle:
We love because he first loved us. 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. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:19–21
Christian, you must be a person of love. Our great enemy knows the power of this love in our hearts, relationships, and churches.