Friday, September 11, 2015
“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox (a fatted calf raised to have tender meat) and hatred therein” (Prov.15:17).
An amplification of the above is “A plate of vegetables in an atmosphere of love is . . . better than a filet mignon roast where there is strife” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, p. 829). The simply stated contrast of Prov.10:12, “Hatred stirreth up strifes, but love covereth all sins.” A hateful spirit does not forgive and forget past grudges and quarrels. By God’s grace love forgets and forgives and moves on. Not easy, but possible. Yes, by prayer, supplication, obedience, and discipline.
Bernard Russell, commenting on the most urgent need of this world, said that it is so simple that he was embarrassed to mention it because of the expected reaction of cynics: He said “Forgive me for mentioning it—is love, Christian love, or compassion” (Encyclopedia of Illustrations, Paul Lee Tan, p.1585).
1 John 4:7 states that “love is of God” and that He has manifested His love by sending His Son to die on a cross to be the satisfaction for our sin. What a work of love (John 3:16)! God enforces the love lesson in 1John 4:11 “If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” No one has seen God at any time” (John 1:8). John further states that God’s love was manifested though Christ. Since Christ has returned to heaven, love is now to be manifested through believers. How stupendous that He has entrusted us with such an assignment! What does our report card indicate? Are there times when “F” appears? Note: It is God’s work of love that is perfected in us. It is all of Him (1 John 4:17). “Love is not what you do but what you are” (Henry Brandt). He is our resource, hope, and provider. What a provision! What a help! What a relief!
Jesus Christ is the standard for Christians. “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another.” Note that standard—“as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34). This commandment is so extremely important that He repeats it two chapters later in (15:12). “It is impossible to be in fellowship with the Father and out of fellowship with another Christian at the same time” (Be Real, Warren Wiersbe, p. 57).
It is impossible to walk in light and darkness at the same time. Love and light go together just as hatred and darkness go together. Hatred is a deeply serious sin. “A believer who is ‘walking in the light’ will evidence that fact by loving the brethren” (ibid, p.119). Note the deep probe of 1 John 3:11-24. It states that loving believers is a matter of life and death. “He that loveth not his brother abideth in death” (v. 14) and “whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer” Furthermore, “no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” (v.15 ).
Think seriously upon these things. They are straight from God. He does not lie.
The eye of the world does not consider hatred very wicked, but God calls it murder. This does not mean that a murderer cannot be saved. A man or woman who hates brothers and sisters in Christ can surrender their sinful heart to God (1 John 3: 16) and be saved from sin. Jesus laid down His life for us. We may not be required to die for others, as mentioned in 1 John 3:16, but the least we can do is manifest love, come alongside our hurting brothers and sisters, share in their need, pray and encourage them in the Lord, and exude love, as commanded in verse 17.