My mom used to practically inform me when I needed a good dose of reality, “I don’t live in the land of ‘If’,” which always amused me to no end, wondering just what that land looked like. But at other times she would indulge our imaginations and join us in creating lands with our minds, which is exactly where I feel like going this morning.
"If" I truly loved others, and, for that matter, "If" all Christians truly loved others:
- I would refuse to gossip about anybody.
- There would be an increase in church discipline.
- I would never argue with siblings.
- “Rights? What are those?”
- I would be too busy showing love to be nosy.
- I would never have to wonder what that person really, truly thinks about me.
- Half-hour long discussions about whose turn it is to do that chore would be a thing of the past.
- I would pray for others, and not only those who are in the hospital.
- I would listen more.
- I would find my selfishness had disappeared.
- I would witness to everyone I met.
- Lawsuits wouldn’t exist.
- The word “grudge” would grow archaic and would only be used in reference to unbelievers or in historical fiction.
- I wouldn’t give a second thought to letting someone borrow something from me.
- I would accept criticism without defending myself.
- I would never have a surplus of money.
- I would be sending many more e-mails.
- The world would know that I am a Christian. (John 13:35)
- I wouldn't have to worry about a lack of joy in my life.
It's the simplicity of Scripture's command to love that makes it confusing. Because that’s how humans work: the more direct and simple the truth, the more eager we are to start backpedaling away from it. Take I John 3:14-16:
“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
That Scripture is as clear as the water in your glass, and if we must explain it, it is because we are like the Gap theorists or progressive evolutionists who cannot accept that what Genesis says is true. I John says, “He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer.” But does death really mean death, or does it just mean something else? If I don’t love that person, am I really as bad as Casey Anthony?… In other words,
“Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" -Genesis 3:1
You see, it really is so very simple.
John 13:35 says,
"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
Here's another "If" while we're in that land: "If no Christian is showing love, then how do we know who is truly saved?"
And one final "If": "If I were to get started on living that list of love right now..."
Love is no make-believe utopia land--it's the true test of Christianity.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.