Sunday, May 14, 2017

All Alone In a Crowd

Other than loving God, the most important thing is to love others, not selectively, but all encompassing. There is none that us unlovable. I'm not an emotional person. I have trouble with even loving, let alone loving others. Loving must be put in context. Our love must be comparable to Christ's love, although we're not capable of that type of unconditional love which he has. However, we should try!
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
In short,  love Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Matthew 22:37) because that is how much God loves us. How much did God love the world? That he gave his only Son. Why? That none should perish. Why? Because God so loved the world that much!

That seems to me that God loves us all with all his heart, soul, and mind just as he tells us to love Him. In other words, as God loves us, we are to love Him! It follows then that we must love others with the same intensity.

However, people either fear others or hate them. Being different is probably the greatest reason for both fear and hate. Rather than the love of God being the standard of loving others, it is us: we are to love others as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). Self-love is idolatry. God knows and understands that because we are all sinners. Knowing that we all are sinners, God turns the tables on us: since we love ourselves so much, he commands us to love others that much too!

How much love is that? The three characteristics of mankind are heart, mind, and soul. Those three are the image of the Trinity from whom man was designed. Being in the image of the Father (mind), the Son (the heart), and the soul (the Holy Spirit), that is our entirety. Added to that is our strength because heart, mind, and soul is the source of our power.

Let it be said, let us love others. That is how we complement our love for God. We can't put our arms around God, so he commands that we embrace each other. If we don't love others it is uncertain that we are born again. How do we know that we love others? Our desire is that none should perish, just as God doesn't want others to perish. We aren't commanded to agree with a person, like their culture, or even their appearance, but it is required to want that all be saved. The desire to damn another is hatred. Society has cheapened the trait of hatred by extending it to benign things. Damnation is hatred!

I believe God hates two things the most: damning Him, and damning others. Those are a direct violation of the Greatest Commandment and the other like unto it.

The other day I approached a female neighbor, just being friendly. She turned, ran, and even left her garden hose running as she staked out safety. All that I was guilty of was smiling and speaking hello. I'm sure that she didn't hate me, for to hate, she must know me. However, her reaction showed that she feared me. What did she fear? Me, as I was doing what I was commanded to do. Loving others is best served by being friendly -  being kind and showing goodwill. Fear made her shrug from me. That hurt. I felt like Jack the Ripper, but the furthest thing from my mind was harming her. The nearest thing to her mind was that she was in danger of harm. I suppose that my appearance is startling, but that is one of mankind's problems; we look at appearance first.

It's hard to love because Satan instills fear. It may be fear of appearance, fear for safety, fear of competition, fear of culture, fear of beliefs, or even fear of communion.  I'm sure that woman doesn't want me in hell, but if she is a Christian, it appears to me that she didn't want me near her either!

When I am in a crowd, I'm not alone, but in that crowd,  I am emotionally alone. In fact, when I'm with people who fail to be friendly, I feel more alone, even isolated. As such, I'm still all alone in a crowd.

Scripture doesn't speak of this type of loneliness. We all need others to be happy, but we are not happy because we either fear or hate others. I hate the modern way. When I was a teenager nobody thought twice: Almost everyone would pick up a stranded person or one hitch-hiking. That's the Samaritan thing to do ( Luke 10:25–37). We may want to do good because that is our Christian nature. Fear keeps us from being kind to others. I believe that few hate with a passion, but most hate things about others. That isolates each from the other. Hate is manifested by being unkind. The woman who ran from me was unkind. She should have stood brave with God alongside her to protect her when she needed protection.

Because even the crowd fears one another, even the appearance of others, I feel alone in a crowd. When I lived in the big city as I shopped, I'd smile and say "hello" to strangers. They would hunker down, turn their heads, and flee. I felt so alone! How can we share love when fear lingers everywhere. Fear is a tool of Satan to short-circuit love!

Face it, meeting a kind stranger who emits love is endearing! Fear keeps us all from loving, How can I be kind when people run from kindness? How can I demonstrate love when people run from me. How can you? How can I tell others about Jesus, when I can't  even say, "hello" because others are fearful?

Fear of those just like us creates loneliness. We isolate our most loved - our self, to stay out of harms way. As such there isn't much love in the world because fear bridles love. If we trust in the Lord, we will demonstrate love for others. God will keep us safe!

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