July 19
‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’ John 13:34
Bible reading: Romans 5:1-6 (Go to the Bible passage)
So much is always written in Paul’s letters that it is next to impossible to take it all in at once. This time, therefore, we will mainly dwell on the last two verses: ‘And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts…’
When - through a way of suffering - we have learned to persevere and so turn out to be of character, we become really glad people; people who have learned to live by a hope that never puts us to shame.
Through that hope, we receive a relaxed confidence and an openness towards everyone that, unfortunately, is lacking all too often in the Christian world, because there is no genuine hope, at least, not the hope God gives.
In Christianity a lot is spoken about love, but - very appropriately - the word ‘love’ is replaced by ‘humanity’. The genuine Christian love is entirely different: it is a gift from God. As long as we still believe in our own possibilities, and we think the love we can muster ourselves produces nice results, so long we will never learn to love the way He has loved us.
As long as we continue to adapt the message of the gospel to our own standards, we can avoid many sufferings – sufferings that await everyone, who comes to believe the truth of the gospel and starts to live by it. But then God cannot pour out His unselfish love in our hearts.
He can only do so if our own love has perished. Only then we can love as Jesus did. But our own love will never be extinguished if we do not become delighted by the unselfish love that God wants to pour out in our hearts through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
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