Faith And Love

We are so “good” that we know the right jargon, we speak “Christianese”.  When someone is in trouble, we assure them that God knows and that we need the faith and it will be all ok.  We may even say we will pray for them and give them Bible references.   Some will say, let me pray for you right now.

There are many situations when we really can’t do anything else but pray.  There are legitimate situations.  I totally respect that.  However, how often are we like the Levite and the priest in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) – who walked past the injured person lying on the road?  We don’t want to associate with the person in need – it could be because we don’t want to be inconvenienced or take time out of our own schedules or we don’t know what people will think if we helped this “outcast” person or someone who people hold “prejudices against.  We don’t want to help because it would cost us something – time, money, efforts, name, reputation.  Jesus spoke of this parable of the Good Samaritan and we all “know” the parable.

How often do we “encourage” someone to have faith in a situation and then not help them because their needs or situations don’t fit into our agendas or our ministry goals or our “Christian” organisational rules and visions and objectives.. or it’s too short of a notice? How often do we encourage someone to have faith and then be so hypocritical putting pressure on them to give answers so that our work can be done knowing full well they can’t give answers as they are waiting on the Lord – just as we encouraged them to do so in the first place?

A proverb in my mother tongue comes to mind – pinch the baby and rock the cradle”.  I’m changing the order – how often do we rock the cradle and then pinch the baby?  It sounds absurd doesn’t it?  But we do that.. we tell people to have faith and then ask them questions that they can’t answer.  When they react to our questions that demand answers, we judge their character instead of realising it was because we pinched them in the first place.

On the contrary, how often are we willing to be like the Good Samaritan who stopped on his way, helped the helpless man crossing all boundaries at the cost of time and money and his own agenda?  How often will we go the extra mile to do so?  That’s the model behaviour Jesus demonstrated as well as has set out for us.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead – James 2:14-17

 If there is love along with faith, then it would be accompanied by action.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,

and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing – 1 Corinthians 13:2

Being a believer isn’t about our gifts nor is it about faith – yes, they are awesome to have – but the Bible is clear that if we do not have love, we are NOTHING.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love – 1 Corinthians 13:13

It is made crystal clear that love is greater than faith and hope.  Jesus tells us that it is by our love for one another that we would be known as His disciples… A true intimacy with God will for sure spring out with love for one another.  Jesus has also told us how to love one another – as yourselves.

If we are advising others in their situations, let’s try to step into the shoes.  Let’s also challenge our responses to think what we would have done if the other person was one of our own?  Would we be complacent?  Would we stop with merely advising and promised prayers?  (As I said earlier there are times where honestly there is nothing we can do – but we shouldn’t hide under that cover).  Have we asked God whether there is anything we could do to step in and give a helping hand?

We often perceive or judge another’s pain or struggle… we justify it.  However, God allows pain and struggles to refine us, to draw us closer to Him, to strengthen our faith and also to receive His comfort.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles,

so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The man who fell prey to the robber was shown mercy by the Samaritan.  Jesus uses this story to ask who was the “neighbour” for which the expert of the law responds, “the one who shows mercy”.  Jesus concludes by telling the expert of the law “Go and do likewise”.

Only one out of the three passed the “test”.  Likewise, when one person is going through a pain or struggle, God uses that to test ALL of us – the one in the struggle and the onlookers.  Are we showing mercy or are we walking away?
Remember when Jesus comes in His glory, He will be separating us as sheep from goats.
This is what He tells the “goats”:

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’  

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Matthew 25:44-45

Let’s seek God and ask for conviction in areas where we are failing so that we can be set right and be among the sheep when He returns in His glory.  May our ears hear what He is seeing before it is too late.  May we have a genuine intimacy with God, one that stems out in love for one another and not as empty words let alone judgmental words.
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