by Sam Weyer
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (I Corinthians 13:4–8, NKJV).
Paul wrote, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (I Corinthians 13:1–2, NKJV).
Paul’s words echo through oblivion and reach our world today. His message of this perfect love was for the church in Corinth, and it is for the church of today. For if we as Hyphens lead CMIs but have not love, we are nothing. If we as Hyphens attend AYC trips but show no love to our homosexual classmate, we have nothing. If we as Hyphens profess to be believers in the faith and use our talents for God and speak in tongues and promote the gospel but have not love inside of our hearts for those who are different from us, then we may as well count it all as loss, for we have nothing.
This love that Paul spoke about is the love we are to show to everyone. This agape love is a love that belong to everyone—to every color, every religion, every ethnicity. This love is for the poor and the rich, the gay and the straight, the Muslim and the atheist, the broken and the hopeful.
We see this love in Jesus’ ministry. In Matthew 22, the Pharisees sought to test Him by asking Him to identify the greatest commandment in the law. Jesus responded by saying, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets’” (Matthew 22:37–40, NKJV).
This is how perfect love is to be achieved. See, it is hard to love everyone, especially those who hate you. But Jesus did not say there is an exception to loving your neighbor; He did not say you should love your neighbor only if they think like you or look like you. No, Jesus did not add conditions to this love; rather, He calls us to have an unconditional love for those around us.
This love is not easy, but that is why we are called to love the Lord our God before we are called to love our neighbor. You see, we cannot love those around us unconditionally if we do not love our God unconditionally. However, something changes within us when we truly appreciate and understand how our God loves us. We are all sinners, saved by grace. We all have fallen short of the glory of God, yet He loves us. With every sinful action we nailed Him to the cross, destined to die—yet He loves us. When we can finally see just how unconditional His love for us is, it is then that we can spread that love to others. Perfect love can come easy to those who have experienced it.
We must remove all bigotry and hatred toward people from our hearts if we are ever to reach this entire world. It is impossible to be a selective light to this world, shining for those with whom we agree and dimming our light for those with whom we disagree. Love and hatred cannot coexist, rather one drives out the other.
However, do not misunderstand me; I do not believe we should accept every lifestyle and every choice. Sin is still sin, and we all are experts at it. In this culture we must still take a stand for things that are biblical and true, but no one must be exempt from our love; for as Christ loved us, so we must love them. Therefore, follow His example and seek His face daily, for it is through your personal relationship with Jesus that you are able to love unconditionally.