1 John 3:14-15 – “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.” NKJV
AGAPE LOVE says, “I love you! I may not agree with you in all matters, but I will not intentionally hurt you nor will I be party to hurt.” AGAPE LOVE says, “I accept you and am willing and able to love you just as you are, and let God take care of any changes that need to take place.”
LOVE is a commitment that operates independently of what I feel or do not feel. It is an act of my will. I can choose to love and demonstrate love or I can choose not to love and demonstrate that I do not love. Let me give you what I would call a LOVE COMMITMENT:
“I want you to know that I am committed to you. You will never knowingly or intentionally suffer at my hands. I will never say or do anything, knowingly to hurt you. I will always, in every circumstance seek to help you and support you. If you are down and I can lift you up, I will. Anything that I have that you need, I will be happy to share it with you; and if need be I will give it to you. My commitment will not change and there is nothing you can do about it. You do not have to respond. I love you with the love of the Lord as a brother/sister in Christ.”
ACCEPTANCE is the evidence of love’s action. AGAPE LOVE means accepting people the way they are for Jesus’ sake. That will require you getting set free from your external hang-ups and remembering that “Life is the basis of fellowship not opinion.”
As you read the New Testament you realize that Jesus hung around sinners. Some of us are so isolated that we refuse to do anything remotely similar to what our Lord did. Jesus did not isolate Himself in the Synagogue. He mixed and mingled with the sinners and the self-righteous go incredibly upset. Remember He came to call sinners to repentance and that is not likely to happen if there is not contact with them of contact that makes them feel like sub-human beings.
Have you ever wondered why some people go to bars? Many, though they may not know it, are looking for someone to love, accept, and listen to them. They get drunk and pour all their problems out to the bartender or whoever will listen. Like the song they are “Looking for love in all the wrong places” but many of the churches and church people make them feel so unwanted they dare not go there. The Bible tells us that we are ‘accepted in the beloved’. God has forgiven us and accepted us. He loves everyone and has not given up on them.
FORGIVENESS means I quit playing God. Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you.” Forgiveness is releasing another from your own personal judgment. That means you will not act as their judge any longer. You will not pronounce a guilty verdict on them. You will leave that to God. I can hear as I have many times, “But they are wrong!” Okay, but they will no longer be under my judgment and condemnation. I release them! Remember God said in Romans 12:19, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay says the Lord.” God can handle it we do not have to.
I can imagine the argument some would have with God if they could or dared. “God that person hurt me, did you know that Lord?” “Yes” “Well, what are you going to do about it?” “What do you think?” “Are you going to strike them dead?” “Probably not…” “But, Lord…” “Do you want to play God? If so, remember this: The moment you step in to bring judgment on that person, you will come under my judgment for with the same measure you judge you will be judged.”
John 6:37 – “Forgive and you will be forgiven. Judge not, and you will not be judged.”
Truthfully, most people will not open up unless they feel certain that they will be accepted and/or forgiven. Therefore they continue to disappoint and fail needing forgiveness. It is a vicious prison that we have them entrapped in. But as we learn AGAPE LOVE and how to truly forgive and love people God will send more and more people to us that need healing and wholeness.
My prayer is that God teach all of us AGAPE LOVE and help us make the choice to Love as He loves. May the Lord be with you as you go through your day!