Love Is Not Silent
Are we really loving our neighbors?
This question might seem obvious on the surface. The Bible talks a lot about love, the commands to love, and the love of God. Many have written at length on the different types of love God has shown us in the Bible: agape, eros, phileo, and storge.
“Love is patient, love is kind...” can be found everywhere! Even the secular world cherishes 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 whether they know where it comes from or not. Good deeds like helping the elderly, volunteering, making meals, building homes, and so on, are encouraged by most secular groups. (Not at all to diminish the importance of good deeds, as it is a command from the Lord, and a beautiful service to others, see James 2:26) On the surface, it looks like loving our neighbor is something we tend to do as a society pretty well. Maybe.
Let’s quickly go back to, “Love is patient and kind.” What one might think this looks like in action versus another, could be and probably is very different. Especially if they are from different countries or upbringings. Expectations and social norms, even the definition of the word love will vary depending on a lot of variables. So now what? Shall we move on and stick to affirming Biblical facts with smiles on our faces and hope we are living it out the way God intended? Sounds easy until you are in a situation where you know you need to say or do something aside from the standard, “I’ll pray for you.” Of course, we will always be praying for people, that’s a given as a Christian, thank God He hears us. Still, there is something more implied in scripture. Loving others goes beyond just words.
“Little Children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18 ESV). These are powerful words in such a short verse! However, Western culture suffers from severe sentimentalism regardless of how wonderful the verse may be. Love has been reduced to feelings and emotional experiences. Think of how many times one might send vague text messages and somehow believe that love is expressed merely by doing the bare minimum. We’ve all been guilty of doing this and have allowed it to reshape what we consider and accept as love from one another. It helps to alleviate disappointment if we all operate on the same sliding scale of acceptable love.
There is a clear discrepancy between love in action with good deeds and love in action towards individuals or within relationships. People are most comfortable with loving others by doing things like works versus loving in attitude and truth. This is a foundational reason why Love Is Not Silent was created. Far too often people are afraid to love in truth even though they cannot be separated, and are one and the same as scripture tells us. Loving others by being patient and overlooking offenses is a command, but it does not mean we nullify the truth and ignore scripture like, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV). There has to be an appropriate application of the whole of scripture to our daily lives so that we love our neighbors rightly. Continuing to enable someone’s sin is not loving. We need to tell our brother or sister in Christ, our friend, or our family member who is stuck in sins like selfishness, anger, sexual immorality, despair, lack of love, false belief systems etc, that how they are behaving is sinful and not honoring to the Lord. It might seem scary or be very uncomfortable, but if we truly love them, we will overcome our own selfishness and fear and will want their relationship with God and subsequent relationships with others restored. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to love not being silent. Society has brainwashed us into thinking we should just keep to ourselves, and let everyone do what makes them happy. There will be times when, yes, we pray about their sins (1 John 5:16), but we cannot ignore that scripture also says to speak the truth in love and to help restore those in sin (Ephesians 4:15, Galatians 6:1). Think about the letter from Jude and how he exhorts us to, “have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 22-23). At times, the most loving thing you will be called to do is to speak up and say something, for the sake of your brother or sister in Christ and others.
We hope this will be the encouragement you need to continue to stand firm in the faith and truly love those around you with Godly Biblical love.
Love Is Not Silent