Jesus turned the world upside down. He did so not only with His life and death, but also with His teaching. What Jesus taught was unheard of, especially His teaching on love. We have been looking at the thought of protecting the reputation of our Lord. People should see Jesus through us, and they do.

Sometimes what the world sees in us is not a true representation of Jesus. We will never perfectly reflect the image of Jesus, but there must be a concerted effort to conform to the image of Christ.

We do not have to wonder what Jesus thought was important, He told us plainly.”A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. [35] “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” [John 13:34-35 NKJV]

In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus made it clear that loving your neighbor was hand-in-hand with loving God. We portray the image of Christ when we love people, not just the people who are like us, that is easy, but when we love people who are different from us. There is absolutely no way we can love the Lord and not love people. Jesus loved everyone. He did not approve of sin, but He loves the person.

We are to love like Jesus loved. Jesus did not show partiality in whom He loved; He simply loved, even me. We protect the reputation of Jesus when we love, show compassion, and show true genuine concern for others. When we are selfish and hard-hearted, we reflect negatively on our Saviour.

When it comes to loving people, there are no “well-buts”. We are to love everyone, even those, no, especially those who have been caught in sin and immorality. No one has the right to point a finger at anyone else and be condemning. When a woman was caught in adultery, Jesus didn’t condemn her (pronounce a sentence), but He also didn’t say her sin was ok. Jesus told her “go and sin no more” John 8: 11.

Jesus showed mercy and compassion to that woman, but He did not say what she did was okay.

Jesus would express the greatest love for her that He could. He paid for her sin, just as He paid for mine.

Jesus is our standard. We are to love just like Jesus loved. Love is an action, not simply a thought or idea. We serve those who are unworthy and immoral. Jesus loves sinners and I am grateful for that because that means Jesus loves me. He does not approve of our sin. He does not simply ignore our sin either. He paid for our sin. He extended mercy and grace to us all and we must extend mercy and grace to those we come in contact with, but mercy and grace begin with love. If we love people, we will be gracious to them. When we truly love people, they will see Jesus in us.

Let us love the unlovable, the downtrodden, the immoral, and even the enemy. God loves them. But when we decide who we will love and who we will not love, we damage the reputation of Jesus. Let us take seriously our responsibility to love others. We need to have an active love for others, because Jesus did. While we cannot pay for their sins, we can point them to the one who did. God Bless

Scott Jones is Pastor of Pleasant Valley MBC … www.pleasant

valleymbc.org

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