Learn to love like Christ – Part 2
Pure, practical and profitable love impacts the lives of other people positively, “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” Cain did not show his real feeling or express the murderous thought in his heart. His countenance appeared friendly. Abel never suspected anything evil from his brother. “And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” There are others too who have followed his footsteps and “gone in the way of Cain…to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever”.
Cain’s love was superficial. He harboured anger in his heart. He was bitter against God and his brother. He was cruel, deceptive and evil. He was forceful. He did not know how to relate with another in a friendly way or amicable manner. He was grudging because Abel’s sacrifice had been acceptable to God. He was hardhearted, which blinded him to kill his only brother. He was insensitive. Like others who delight in seeing other people’s tears, Cain took joy in seeing blood.
Cain was jealous. Jealousy brings pretending, perverted and hypocritical love; it kisses to kill. He was lawless, murmuring and narrow-minded. He thought that making others unhappy and gloomy would make him glad. He was obstinate. God warned him, but he was already determined to do evil. He was also possessive. He felt he had his brother’s life in his hand. He was quarrelsome, revengeful and serpentine, like a poisonous green snake in the green grass. He was troublesome, ungodly, violent and wicked. He was xenophobic (seeing another race as being inferior). He cut down Abel and his posterity and yielded to strife. When one superficially loves and the temptation to strive comes, he yields easily. Cain’s life was literally a zigzag. You cannot discern his mood, attitude or relationship.
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world”. The real practice of love starts at home. If our wife/husband or children tremble before us, then there is no mutual love in the family because “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” Those who make other people be fearful do not have love. If you claim to love God and you cannot love your spouse, then you make yourself a liar: “for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
This love is selfless and sacrificial and brings about equitable distribution of the fund in the family between husband and wife. This in turn brings happiness to the lives of the children. Husbands should love their wives because he “that loveth his wife loveth himself.” “Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” As believers, we must manifest permanent mutual love in our families.
Leaders in the church should be exemplary in the practice of love. They should lay down something for the flock of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ laid down His reputation, high position and came to the world to be our Saviour. He “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men”. This is what ministers should do. We should love the children of God and lay down all we have. When Christ came to save us, He laid down His life too. Although all riches in all eternity are reposed on Him, yet for our sakes “He became poor”. We are expected to reproduce that love of Christ among the flock of God.
The motivation for our ministry and loving the children of God is the love of Christ, which compels, controls and constrains us. Ministers of God should not “henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again”. We should not live for our gains or what to profit from the ministry. Even when members hurt us mistakenly or deliberately, we should, like Christ Who endured all things for our salvation, endure for their salvation. Ministers should not be a burden to the members, as Christ was not burdensome to His followers. We should “gladly spend and be spent” and not serve grudgingly. We must not be afraid of the flock but rather stir up the gifts of God in them. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Further Reading (King James Version): 1 John 3:11; 4:7. 1 John 3:11,16-18; John 15:12,13. 1 John 3:12-15; Genesis 4:3-8; Hebrews 11:4; Jude 11-13. 1 John 4:17-21; Ephesians 5:25,28-33. 1 John 3:16; Philippians 2:5-8; 2 Corinthians 8:9; 5:14,15,18-20; 12:14,15; 2 Timothy 1:6,7.