Sunday, February 08, 2015

Ancient Paths of Love

I was watching a documentary on India last night, and the narrator said that, for survival, the elephants must migrate along ancient paths, and the responsibility of guiding the young elephants along these ancient pathways falls on the older female elephants.  That reminded me that Christians must also follow ancient paths (Jer. 6:16), and older women in the church are to lead the young along those paths (2 Tim. 1:5, Titus 2:3-5).  That is exactly what I want to do in this post.  I want to address one of Christianity's most fundamental characteristics, a characteristic that may be talked about a lot in theory, but neglected in practice.  I want to talk about love.  More specifically, I want to talk about how loving someone means not being ashamed of them.  At the end of John 13, Jesus predicts that Peter will deny Him in shame within a few hours.  John 18 talks about the predicted denials.  After these denials, Jesus questions Peter's love for Him several times.  Being ashamed of someone demonstrates a lack of love.  Just to drive that point home, Jesus says in Luke 12:9 that anyone who denies Him before men will be denied by Him before the angels of God.  Denying or being ashamed of Jesus is a terrible thing.  Being ashamed of our Christian brothers and sisters is just as bad.  In Matt. 25, Jesus equates the way we treat others to the way we treat Him.  John tells us in 1 John 4:21 that anyone who claims to love God yet doesn't love his brother is a liar.  John further says that it is impossible for one who doesn't love his brother to love God.  (Verse 22.)  Being secretly or openly ashamed of another Christian is a sin.  There is just no way around it.  There is much teaching about loving and encouraging others, which is great, but first, we must all search our hearts to see that we don't harbor any shame towards others in the church.  Christians who make up the visible body of Christ on earth are called to bear with one another (Gal. 4:2), and never to be ashamed of one of God's children.  The ancient path of love in the Scriptures call us to look for the good in others and praise them for it (Phil.4:8, Pro. 27:2), and to cover anything we find shameful (Pro.17:9).

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