Shout for Joy
One thing is for sure, and that is that God loves us.
And by “us” I mean all those who by faith have become his children.
But the Sermon on the Mount takes it one step further; it says that “our
heavenly Father is even-handed in his relationship to all” and that “we
demonstrate to others that we are true sons of our Father in heaven by
loving our enemies” (Matt. 5:43-48).
Somehow I always thought that while God loved his children, his
relationship to the non-believers was not quite the same.
But Jesus says here in the Sermon on the Mount that he makes the sun
rise on both sinners and saints and sends rain on the fields of both the
honest and the dishonest.
Does that mean that God’s love is defined as being fair to all so there
is no discrimination based on one’s relationship to him?
But doesn’t love have an emotional component?
When I say I love my wife and children I mean I feel a certain way
That is not all there is to love but can you say you love a person if
some sort of a warm feeling is missing?
Of course, the word has been so over used that it has almost lost
its primary meaning.
God’s love for the human race displays itself by Jesus going to the
cross for all of us.
I don’t think he had only the disciples and a few more in mind.
It seems to me that love is primarily volitional.
To love God is to comply with what he expects from us.
Now as that relationship develops over the years we may be moved
even to tears at times because we recognize some incident in which
he “loved us” in a special way
I don’t want to reduce love to a decision, but I believe that’s what it is
at its core.
Incidentally, one value of that emphasis is that we can have a relatively
good idea of the strength of our love for God.
If we don’t take time for a week to talk to him in prayer, do we love him?
If we take advantage of a neighbor and get a kick out of our subterfuge,
do we love him?
On the other hand if love were measured by the intensity of our emotions
then there would be no accurate way to determine how much we love him
today as over against the day we accepted him as Savior.
Now the point clears up in connection with loving our enemies as we
love our neighbors.
We wouldn’t cheat a neighbor on a lot line.
Nor would we cheat an enemy just because we don’t get along.
We would love them to the same degree.
That is not difficult to imagine.
We are not expected to have the same emotional relationship.
For God loved the world and did something about it; he died for all.
For _______ (insert your name) loved a troublesome neighbor and
did something about it; he didn’t . . . for instance, take advantage of
a incorrect boundary line that gave him extra yardage.
Yes, I believe that I can love both neighbor and enemy like that.
There is no requirement that I feel a certain way, only that I live
a certain way.
Robert H Mounce