Loving Our Neighbor
I am speaking to you on love, not because I am worthy. Oh, I have failed in love until I could not look up, but down, not at His feet, but far from them. But from His lips there was never one word to upbraid me. From Him came grace to a sin-broken, sin-marred heart until it was whole, and His love poured in.
"To love…is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices" (Mark 12:33). The cross is the emblem of Christ’s love to me. What is the emblem of my love to Him? What is the emblem of my discipleship?
"By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).
"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another" (John 13:34). "If ye love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15).
The emblem of my love for God, therefore, is love for my neighbor. To the measure I love him, I will love God. This is the royal law of love: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Jas. 2:8). "Love… according to the love of the Lord" (Hos. 3:1).
If there were no blood, no cross, I could not have said these things to you. I could only hang my head in shame. I used to be ashamed to tell the girls that our Lord could give a life of victory. [Miss Jacobsz taught Home Economics in South Africa.] I knew their hearts would have replied, "Your lips tell us of the love of God, but your life tells us of anger."
Yet, while those girls were asleep, there were often tears because of anger and impatience. What is the sin in your life? Does God see that your heart is broken about it while others sleep…or does it never even bring tears? If you want a life of power, first find a life of love.
There is going to be a time when God will weigh each life. Will the verdict be, "Weighed and found wanting in love to my neighbor"? Can those who know you best say, "He/she has nothing but love"?
Calvary love for my neighbor is made up of: an all-forgiving love, an all-conquering love, the honesty of love, the self-forgetful love, the reproving love, the humility of love, and the gentleness of love.
An All-Forgiving Love
"Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another" (Eph. 4:32).
You may say, "I’ll forgive, but I’ll not forget." What if God had to forgive you like that?
Or you may say, "I’ll forgive when he tells me he is sorry." Or, "He does not deserve forgiveness," or "I’ll forgive when he realizes what he has done against me."
Dear friends, forgiveness is not estrangement. Forgiveness is not ignoring that person. Forgiveness means restored confidence, which bears no grudges. His word to you in Matthew 5:44 tells you to "pray FOR them which despitefully use you." His life tells you to die for them.
Did He say, "Those who are driving the nails through My hands and feet are causing me agony; Father, let their reward be agony"? No. "Forgive them! Let them share My glory." Forgiveness is the condition for sharing His glory. The very spear that pierced His side, drew forth the blood to save!
D. L. Moody said, "If you find the man who drove the nails, tell him that the blood of Jesus cleanses from all sin (1 John 1:7)."
Why should I forgive? "But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses" (Mark 11:26). "So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses" (See Matt. 18:21-35).
Forgive for the sake of His forgiving love to you! Forgive for the sake of the love debt you owe to Him! Calvary love seeks mercy for the erring one, and puts the kindest construction on the actions of others, giving them full benefit of the doubt.
One sister said, "With His hand before me, when injustices came, could I look past the hand that bears the print of the nails for me? That hand was sufficient to melt my heart. Thus melted by His love, could I do aught but love the one through whom the injustice came?"
Amy Carmichael wrote: "As though the God who twice a day washes all the sands on all the shores of all the world, could not wash such memories from my mind. As though the Christ who has enough Blood to cleanse away the sin of all the world, could not wash such memories from my heart!"
The Lord who died for you said: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matt. 19:19). Lord, show me what love is, then I shall tell Thee whether mine is love or not!