From Pastor’s Desk:
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NLT
There is no hope then. At least, that’s what comes to mind when faced with the enormous task of loving people, especially the unlovely. One Scripture to keep in mind is 1 John 3:14-15 where, as J.B. Phillips says, “We know that we have crossed the frontier from death to life because we do love our brothers. The man without love for his brothers is living in death already. The man who actively hates his brother is a potential murderer, and you will readily see that the eternal life of God cannot live in the heart of a murderer.”
No leeway there. No “grey” area between loving and not. It’s an either /or situation. The bottom-line principle is that no matter who we are, what we’ve done, or where we’ve been, if we don’t love, it’s all in vain. Without love, we are still dead, not having passed from that dark dreary place to a bright, lively one in Christ Jesus.
This passage follows the teaching on the gifts of the Spirit. We might “have” one or many, but even they are null and void if we don’t love.
It all stems from the Golden Text of the bible, John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…“
God is love (1 John 4:16). Allow me to finish with another one from J.B. Phillips: “Yes, we love him because he first loved us. If a man says, “I love God” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For if he does not love the brother before his eyes how can he love the one beyond his sight?”
And in any case it is his explicit command that the one who loves God must love his brother too” (1 John 4:19-21).
We can’t get around this one. It is a commandment of God. Can’t be done? He would not command it if it couldn’t.