Love Wins

by Adam Smith on June 29, 2023

What does it mean to ‘love our neighbors’ as Jesus commands? Along with the greatest commandment, ‘to love God,’ loving our neighbors is at the heart of Christian discipleship. Over the last two months in worship at PCN, understanding the character and shape of this kind of love is what we have been exploring together. And what have we discovered?

Love is patient. It waits, values others, listens. It doesn’t jump in to assert ‘my way’ but is open.

Love is kind. It sees others as worthy of love and respect, as children of God who are worth giving of ourselves – our time, energy, and effort in order that we might show compassion and meet needs without any thought of reward.

Love is content. It does not want but is ready to give. It does not boast, but lifts others up. Love is humble. It is ready to learn new things, to be changed by relationships with others.

Love is respectful to others. It never takes advantage, degrades, devalues, or dehumanizes others. It never says, ‘it’s just business.’ Love does not create ‘others’ but brings together.

Love is not easily angered. Love does not lash out, attack, or harm. It does not manipulate through anger and fear but manages these emotions. Love sees the world as full of abundance rather than scarcity.

Love is forgiving. Absent forgiveness our lives become enslaved to the wrongs or perceived wrongs committed by others. Forgiveness is about freedom to live a full life not enslaved to past wrongs.

Love is light. And we shine it with every bit of our lives wherever we are and in whatever situation we find ourselves. Light illuminates the world around us, makes it brighter, helps others see the good news of Jesus.

And love wins. We are part of an epic love story, God’s story, in which love is the point. Love is what it is all about. God is bringing all things together with God. This is where all things are going, where the heavens and the earth come together in a new age and we dwell with God forever. In the Christian faith, this is our great hope – not living off in some far away ethereal heaven but in a redeemed, renewed world where all things have come together through the love of God.

Love is the future. And so love is also the past and the present. We wrap our lives around the love we have described above because love wins: yesterday, today, and forever. Love is the point.

Of course, there’s nothing easy about this love. As we see in Jesus, it’s all about sacrifice, giving away, having compassion for others. It’s not self-centered; not materialistic; not about position, or power, or wealth, or many of those things our society tells us we should pursue with our lives. It’s often countercultural or counterintuitive.

But love is what saves the world. Nothing else in all of creation can do it. But in Jesus, who is love, who extends love, the world has been and is continually being saved. We just have to jump in and be a part of it.

With Grace & Peace,
Pastor Adam


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