The Face of Love
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Life is not fair. Job understood this when he said, “Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.”1 In a country that is as rich as ours, millions of people go to bed hungry every night. That is, if they are lucky enough to have a bed or a home, for that matter. The amazing thing is, many people blame God for the misfortunes of humanity.
On a very cold, winter’s day, a young girl stood on a busy street corner begging for food, money, or whatever she could get. She stood there cold and shivering as vicious winds penetrated her thin, tattered clothes. Hundreds of people walked past her but only a few dared to look in her direction. A well-dressed, prosperous looking gentleman looked at the young girl and shook his head before getting into his expensive automobile. When he arrived at his huge, warm, luxurious home, he sat down at the dinner table with his family and began to feast on a meal that was fit for a king.
After eating his dessert, his mind went back to the hungry little girl that he had seen earlier. As he thought about her thin, dirty, shivering body, he started questioning God for allowing such conditions to exist. He said, “God, how can you let this happen? Why don’t you do something to help that little girl?” He heard God responding to his question with the words, “I did. I created you.”
God blesses us so that we can bless others. But instead, too many people have subscribed to the philosophy, “I got mine. You get yours.” They don’t care if you have enough food as long as their refrigerator is full. They don’t care if gangs terrorize your neighborhood as long as their community is safe. They don’t care if you have health care as long as their family is insured. There are a lot of problems in this world. But God has already done what He needs to do to solve them. He created you.—Burton Barr Jr.
Who is my neighbor?
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” Jesus said. “Who is my neighbor?” they asked Him. And with the story of the good Samaritan, He tried to show them that it is anyone who needs our help, regardless of their race, creed, color, nationality, or condition.2
The good Samaritan is a wonderful story about the poor guy that got beat up along the road by thieves, and the good Samaritan picked him up and took him to the inn and told the innkeeper, “Whatever you spend, I will repay you.” Who was the good Samaritan like? The Good Samaritan was like the Lord, and the innkeeper is his steward, like you or me. And whatever we spend to rescue people and save souls, He will more than repay!
“Whatever thou spendest,” He says, “I will repay.” No matter how much we sacrifice, I will say with the great pioneer missionary, dear Dr. David Livingstone, that “you cannot outgive God.” He said, “I never made a sacrifice! No matter how much I gave, God always gave me back more.”
So I think you’re going to find out you haven’t really sacrificed at all in giving to others. You’ve invested, and the returns are going to be far beyond anything you have invested. The greatest investment we have to make, of course, is ourselves, our lives and our time for others.
I believe God is going to bless every sacrifice we make, not only eternally with the souls of those we lead to Him, but He’s also going to bless us every other way in the bargain. We may temporarily look like we’re losing something or sacrificing a little, but look at later!
So we never lose by giving; we only benefit. “He that withholdeth, it tendeth to poverty, but he that scattereth abroad, it increaseth.”3
The person who is willing to seemingly lose is going to be the gainer. “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jesus Himself said, “He that saveth his life shall lose it, but he that loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.”4 And a lot of other people’s lives as well!—David Brandt Berg
Nothing rivals God’s love
Nothing rivals the power of God’s love. It has the ability to heal a broken heart, repair a deep emotional wound, and mend a shattered relationship. In the end, love makes all things new. The apostle Paul understood this. He wrote, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”5 In other words, without the love of God in his life, he was no more than an empty tin can. The same is true for us.
On a scale of one to ten, the love of God is a ten—surpassing all other virtues in importance. Love is patient and kind—long-suffering and full of hope and encouragement. It never discourages. It always builds and refuses to tear down. It is never in a hurry. It is not forceful, demanding, or self-centered.
Love waits for God’s best, whenever and whatever that may be. It does not panic in the face of trial, defeat, or fear. It won’t grasp for human solutions but always seeks to do God’s will. Love is kind, gentle, and understanding. It acts in the best interest of others, overlooks offenses, and is extravagant when it comes to giving to others.
“It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”6 It waits for God to promote and exalt. It credits Him for any personal success, while acknowledging the contributions of others. It always applauds the godly gain of another and does not flaunt or taunt, but bends its knee in humility.
Love is not rude. It is polite and courteous—even to those who are ill-mannered, ill-tempered, and hurtful. True love is never self-seeking, but thinks of others first. Love is not irritated by the behavior of others. It refuses to judge, leaving that to God. It does not keep a mental record of offenses. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It meets each day with cheer and a smile. It thinks upon good things and is happy in simple obedience to God.
Paul concludes his description by writing, “Love never fails,”7 and the love of God never will. Not only does this indicate that His love will never run out; it also means that whatever the situation, the proper response always is love. When we extend the love of God to others—especially those who have hurt and opposed us—we are set free from feelings of bitterness, anger, rejection, hostility, and unforgiveness.
Learning to love God and others the way He loves you will lead you to discover places in your heart where you would never venture on your own. One thing is for sure: when you live in the light of His love, you will come to know the intimate care of a loving heavenly Father.—Charles Stanley
Published on Anchor June 2016. Read by Debra Lee. Music by John Listen.
1 Job 14:1.
2 Luke 10:29–37.
3 Proverbs 11:24.
4 Mark 8:35.
5 1 Corinthians 13:1 NAS.
6 1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV.
7 1 Corinthians 13:8.