In the previous article entitled “Overcoming Anxiety,” we learned how anxiety develops and how we can, with the help of Yehovah, eliminate it and replace it with the truth of His word. As we spend more time in Yehovah’s presence and focus on Scripture, our relationship with Him deepens and our trust in Him increases. We then have more freedom and a greater capacity to love Him and others. We, as the Body and Bride of Messiah, are called to love. Loving others is freeing, allowing us to move forward, and making us outward focused.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matt 22:37-40)
I have recently read a book by John Burke entitled Imagine Heaven. It contains a study of the commonalities in near-death experiences from people of diverse backgrounds and religions. Burke reviewed thousands of near-death experiences, extracting only people’s experiences, not their interpretations of their experiences. One thing that Burke discovered is that almost every person reported experiencing a life review and being asked, “How much did you love others?” During the life review, accomplishments and achievements, wealth and education were not considered, only the question, “How much did you love others?”
Scripture gives us many guidelines on love. We can find answers to all our questions if we dig deeply enough in His word. Below are some sample questions and Scripture’s responses: Hopefully you will find them helpful.
Why does loving others mean so much to Yehovah?
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed. (Prov 19:17)
Should we love others when we disagree with their beliefs or actions?
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet. 4:8)
Do not hate a fellow Israelite [believer] in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am Yehovah. (Lev. 19:17-18)
How should we react to those who are afflicted?
For Yehovah comforts His people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones…. But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. (Ps. 86:15)
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Rom 12:15)
Is it our responsibility to help those who are needy?
Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart. (Zech 7:10)
Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him. (Prov. 14:31)
One of our best examples of love come from our Father. He does not share His discards or second-hand possessions with us, but rather gives us His very best. In addition to His name, His protection, and His daily provisions, He has shared with us the two most precious to Him, Yeshua and the Holy Spirit.
How does Yeshua love us? He emptied Himself completely in order to come to Earth and become one of us. Then He emptied Himself again of all that He had on Earth, even His life, so that we might be reunited to His Father and to Him and to one another.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. (John 13:34
After His work on Earth was completed, after His resurrection, everything was restored in abundance to Him. He who was once considered a failure and a fraud and who died the death of a criminal, is now seated at the right hand of the Father and is worthy of all praise, thanksgiving and glory. It is that abundance that He most generously shares with us. We have much cause to rejoice and to love Yehovah and others even in the midst of trials!