If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Galatians 5:15
All we need is love, is just another Christmas song we play once a year. When it comes down to it, we can’t find love in the people we are supposed to love to save our lives. The reality is that, when we get up close and vulnerable with people, they find words to hurt us. They ignore, they walk away, they don’t meet our expectations, and they treat us worse than strangers. The reality is that we are destroying each other daily. Our families are the best at this, and for those who also have a church family, you are doubly likely to get bitten and devoured. [I am sorry to begin this article on a negative tone]. The Apostle Paul is giving us a heads up that we ought to follow the second most important commandment, that is, love our neighbours as we love ourselves. If we do not love then like animals, we will be destroyed by each other.
Have you ever walked away from a church community to seek better pastures? Have you ever moved thousands of miles from your family so that you won’t have to see them too often? As Christians, couldn’t we find a different way to resolve our differences? Why is it all so complicated? And why is the easiest choice to give up and walk away? How do we know that we have loved enough? Or to phrase this another way, when has love not been enough?
READ MORE: Let love last all year, part I
Do you recall 1 Corinthians 13:13? “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Love allows us to compromise, it allows us to be patient, to trust, to not be so easily angered, to not be so rude, or proud, or envious or unkind. This is not just for the other person who does this to us, this is also speaking to the one who reads this (and of course, the one who is writing this). We tend to blame the other individual, but fail to realize that we ought to be first to forgive, first to not keep a record of wrongs, first to hope and perseverance, and first to surrender our pride. Yes, love actually calls us to be the first to show love, not to wait for it to be shown to us- that is the definition of selfish. And love is most certainly not selfish. So, have we been enabling the destruction of God’s gifts to us: The family and the church? Or, are we fighting like hell to love each other as we love ourselves?
So, when is love not enough? The Apostle Mark says, “If a house is divided against itself, it cannot stand.…” (Mark 3:25). This is the trouble when there isn’t anymore love: Your house is not going to stand. Even God can’t or won’t work in a house that is divided. This is what God says in Revelations 2:4-5: “But I have this against you: You have abandoned your first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.“
When we surrender ourselves to Christ and let His Spirit be what the world sees, we have a chance at knowing how to love. It’s not as easy as the world says about falling in love. We do not fall into love. Love is a continuous decision we make daily, even when we don’t want to. When we cannot anymore, we ought to pray. Because without love, little by little, we will destroy each other. And, that is not what God wants from us, definitely not from His church.
READ MORE: Love will never fail us
We can admit that when we are not loved, it can be the worse feeling. And when there is no love in a home, it can be the coldest and loneliest place to be. Although you might choose to reside there anyway, it doesn’t bring out the best in us. God calls us to be the light of the world, and there can’t be any light when you are living in darkness. Therefore, pray for love, pray for a spark, and definitely pray for God’s candlestick. The reality is, if I…do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1).