I must first confess to having been very caught up in the widespread enthusiasm for the Beatles songs in the sixties; rightly or wrongly, they caught the mood of the times, using clever lyrics and very memorable tunes.
However, I’m now looking a little more deeply into the concept of this particular title about love and I’ve come to a serious conclusion: no sinful lifestyle choice is made acceptable to God by our simply invoking a fashionable mantra such as ‘love is all that matters’. The sacrificial love that Jesus taught and demonstrated clearly required, not replaced, the truth that sin needs to be acknowledged by us and resolved with God.
There seems to be, within the church, a growing sense that, provided we can show that there is love between the people involved, almost any relationship can be regarded as right with God. It’s likely that today’s verse would be one of the supporting scriptures used by those making this argument.
However, Jesus certainly did not teach us that a loving relationship automatically counteracts any sin in that relationship. The Bible clearly says, for example, that sexual intimacy outside of a marriage covenant between a man and a woman is contrary to God’s created order and therefore sin, irrespective of any claim of mutual love.
The call to love one another, in today’s verse, was written in the context of encouraging healthy interaction within the fellowship of believers. If they were truly loving, there would be forgiveness of one another and little opportunity for sinful disputes. A multitude of sins may be averted by our perseverance to love one another but only repentance, and the receiving of God’s forgiveness, makes us right with Him.
Prayer: Father God, when I find myself in a place of hostility towards others, help me to find Your love for them and so avert unhelpful dispute. I also choose not to use a label of love as a means of hiding, rather than resolving, sinful attitudes and sinful behaviour. Amen.
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