OPINION: Faith Foundations columnist Pastor Tom Kline looks at real love.

Faith Foundations columnist Pastor Tom Kline looks at real love.

“For God so loved the world …” (John 3:16)

Many question God’s love, yet He loves you more perfectly than anyone. The Lord in His love allows us the freedom to live our lives as we please. Sadly, the consequences of our choices, the choices of others and the effects of sin in general bring sadness and pain to our lives. Nevertheless our loving heavenly Father offers forgiveness, help, comfort and peace.

Don’t mistake God’s defining and condemnation of that which is harmful to mankind as unloving — He loves us unconditionally and wants what is best for us. It is His desire to spare us from the harms of sin and desires a relationship with us by faith that will guide and carry us through this difficult world.

God loves you more than you can comprehend. Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth (demonstrates) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The Lord loves sinners so much that He took their sin and went to the cross to pay for them. He offers salvation and eternal life to all who will receive it. “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us …” (1 John 3:16)

Love is a chief attribute of God and therefore, ought to characterize those who follow Him. “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God …” (1 John 4:7). “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35).

With Valentine’s Day approaching, let’s talk about what real love looks like.

1 Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter of the Bible. In verses 4-7 it says, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not … it is not puffed up, … seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

The word “charity” gives us our first clue of real love — it is a giving love. You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving. Love is patient and kind towards others; it does not envy what others have, nor is it focused on self nor selfish. Real love sees good in others, is not suspicious or cynical but gives the benefit of the doubt. Even when belief in a loved one is shattered, love still hopes. Love holds fast, it refuses to stop bearing or stop believing, or stop hoping. Love doesn’t give up!

I want you to know that Jesus loves you more than you can imagine and He can teach us to love each other. May God richly bless you and may you rejoice in the love He has for you.

Pastor Tom Kline, Castlegar Baptist Church

castlegarbaptistchurch.com

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