In our world today, many people take love as an appetizer of life rather than a main course. We want it until we realize the ups and downs that come along with the promise of love, then we throw it away, along with the promises. It is tossed here and left behind there, with the true meaning, the true feeling of it never being experienced. We have taken love and made it a temporary feeling in marriage rather than one that is felt and held onto throughout a lifetime until death do us part. In friendship, we love until a friend hurts us, then we forget it as if it was never there rather than try to hold on to those we call friends. Without it, we have become a cold world. One with racism, hate, bullying, death, torn families, divorces. If we could only stop for a moment and look to the greatest example of love that ever was, we might be able to stop our world from killing off love altogether. John 15:12 says, This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
What we need to see is that God has given us the greatest love. He loved us so much that he gave his life for us. Now from this, we should be humbled before him and realize that his example of love is one to follow. We walk down the street and fleshly judge each person we see by what we see, their outward appearance. We see a homeless person and we see dirt, stench, a failure. But God sees a heart, potential, a preacher, a soul, a willing vessel. We see a person with money and we think stuck up, selfish, ignoring their family, money hungry. If we only looked at people through God’s eyes, we would see so much beauty all around us. There are stories behind each and every face we pass by. Stories and chapters that we don’t know. We haven’t even begun to crack open the book and we think we know the ending. But the reality is, God knows the ending to every story, every chapter, every page, every word and he chooses love, forgiveness, mercy, grace. You see, all these things come after love. With love, comes a covering of grace, forgiveness, hope. By loving someone you may be giving them a taste of hope they have never received from anyone before. We don’t know a persons past by simply looking at their faces. The true heart of a person is seen and felt in conversation, in time, stories told, memories heard, emotions felt.
The story of Hosea (look to the book of Hosea) is one of a deep love for not only God but a love that goes beyond and deeper than flesh. God told Hosea that he was to marry a prostitute. God knew Hosea and the man that he was, a man that trusted his Lord. So Hosea obeyed and married Gomer. This was a good man of God. A man of honor and respect. He married gomer and loved her. Can you imagine what the people said behind Hosea’s back? The whispers, the gossip. Gomer was used, abused, torn and broken. She probably had trust issues. Deep wounds from men who had beat her down one by one. And she was the one God chose for Hosea. Others saw her as worthless, used, an item but God saw her heart and taught Hosea to see it as well. There is a learning process we all must go through in order to truly love one another. A heart change, practice, failure, redemption, a willing heart, and the realization that God loves us unfailingly and that he wants us to do the same for one another.
Proverbs 10:12 says, hatred stirred up strife but love covered all sins. We all have sins. Everyday we are faced with the need to repent of them. Thankfully we have a god who sees those sins and forgives them in order to pour his love into us. Just as we are honored by God’s grace and mercy, so are we to show that kind of grace to our neighbors good and bad. Our friends and enemies. Matthew 5:43-48 states, 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
We are to learn by our teacher, God, and show love to everyone. We all have things to learn. We can all love a little more. Love like God loves. Let us pray that God would open our eyes to see hearts instead of flesh. To learn to love as he loves us. To listen more than we speak. To give love instead of hate. To obey his word to love our neighbors and enemies. To have grace and mercy as he shows us grace and mercy daily. To cast away judgement. For what we give in love to others, we will receive back. There is joy to be found in loving others. A freedom from bitterness. A freedom from guilt and shame. There is so much goodness to gain from a life where there is love. Let us read the whole book of a person and find the good in them, see it, and feel it, rather than looking only to the cover and finding what we think is inside. Read the whole book. For God is not only our author, but the author to every soul we see and he always writes a beautiful ending if only we believe and trust Him. There is always more to the story. Take a chance and choose to look at the pages under the cover.