The Bible teaches that God is love and that Jesus is the fulness of God’s love in the flesh (1 John 4:7-21). At the same time, some people only see one side of Jesus’ love- the side where He healed the sick and helped the oppressed. However, many Christians in today’s “politically correct” culture, overlook the controversial side of Jesus’ love- the side that got Him crucified. As disciples of Christ, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to manifest all the love of God in and through us; no matter the sacrifice!
“17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. 20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
5:1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
EXAMPLES OF JESUS’ NON-CONTROVERSIAL FORMS OF LOVE
- HEALING THE SICK: Matthew 9:21-22, “21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” 22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.”
- CORRECTING HYPOCRITICAL JUDGMENTS: John 8:7, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
- TEACHING TO BE KIND TO EVERYONE, INCLUDING ONE’S ENEMIES: Luke 6:27-31, “27 But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
- BREAKING DOWN CULTURAL PREJUDICE: Luke 10:33, “But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.”
EXAMPLES OF JESUS’ CONTROVERSIAL FORMS OF LOVE
- REBUKING RELIGIOUS PEOPLE: Matthew 23:16-17, “16 Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred?”
- EXPOSING PEOPLE’S SECRET SINS: John 4:17-18, “17 ‘I have no husband,’ she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
- TELLING PEOPLE TO STOP SINNING: John 8:11, “Go, and sin no more.” John 5:14, “Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
- COMMANDING HIS DISCIPLES TO HATE ANYTHING THAT WOULD TAKE HIS PLACE IN THEIR LIVES: Luke 14:25-27, “25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.'”
PRESENT DAY APPLICATIONS OF FOLLOWING JESUS’ EXAMPLES OF LOVE
- Pray for the sick, practice adoption and help the poor and needy by doing acts of charity (James 1:27 & 5:13-20).
- Don’t be a hypocritical Christian, but honestly live as a disciple and ask others to follow your example (1 Corinthians 11:1).
- Do unto others, as you would have them to do unto you.
- Treat everyone the same because everyone is made in the image of God (Genesis 9:6 & Galatians 3:28).
- Rebuke those who practice false religion (Galatians 1:8-9).
- Be open to hear prophetic words about people’s personal lives and help them repent of their secret sins (1 Corinthians 14:24-25).
- Preach the commands of God to everyone you can- including the controversial ones like homosexuality, abortion, adultery, sex outside of marriage, pornography, unwholesome talk and racism (2 Timothy 4:1-5).
- Make sold out disciples of Christ who are willing to give their all for Jesus! (Matthew 28:19-20)
1 John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”