My wife Pam really cares about people and wants to help them. She’s the first one to offer help when other people are in need. When someone tells her about a prayer need, she says, “Let’s stop and pray together right now.” I like to think of myself as a guy who loves people too…but I don’t really like to be inconvenienced by the needs of others. Does the Bible have anything to say about this? Yes. But after hearing what God has to say, you may be as uncomfortable as I am about it! Let’s listen to today’s passage from the book of 1 John:
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. (1 John 3:16-19)
In today’s passage we get a good idea of what love really is – and what it isn’t. The 19th century evangelist Charles Finney famously wrote, “Love is not a special way of feeling.” Jesus demonstrated real love in giving up His life for us. Love isn’t having warm feelings about someone; it’s acting for the benefit of another person. John gives us the example of a person who has enough money to live well, but doesn’t do anything to help someone in need. Let’s listen to it again: “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?” Please note that John doesn’t say, “feels no compassion;” he says “shows no compassion.” Real love means that when we see those in need we don’t just feel bad about it; instead, we find a way to help if we can. The last line tells us something important. John says, “Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.”
Do you belong to the truth? If so, your actions will show it; if not…maybe today is a great day to repent!