Love, What Our World Needs Now.
It may seem presumptuous of me to use a title such as this in my blog. Do I know what the world really needs now? I think I do know what the world, what you and I need now.
There are some things most of us want and many of us need. That list includes lower gas prices, a closed southern border, a good immigration policy, an impartial judicial system, lower food, and heating bills, etc. Perhaps there are some personal things, some broken relationships that need mending in your life. I’m confident most of us could add more to the list.
There is no question that many are facing some circumstances because of the issues I’ve noted. I am not in any way denying or trying to minimize those facts. However, there is an underlying spiritual issue that we need to be aware of and continually address if we are to live with the sense of dignity and purpose for which God has created us.
I am reminded of this underlying spiritual sickness every day as I endure news programs or listen to podcasts concerning the multiple challenges we face. I often feel “worn out” and discouraged by the endless barrage of the bad stuff I’m hearing. How do we process this? What do we do to make things better?
Understanding Matthew 22: 36-40 is critical to putting life and its challenges into perspective. I am convinced these verses point us to the meaning and purpose of our existence. They give us the big picture of what our brief time on earth is about.
Food, clothing, and housing are essential to our physical well-being, but these are rather meaningless if we don’t know why we are here. These things keep us alive and functioning for what? Do we just live and die? Is that all there is? No, and this passage in Matthew is a clear message about the central issue of life.
Follow this link to refresh your memory of what this teaching of Jesus is about. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2022%3A36-40&version=NIV
I grew up in the turbulent 1960s. The Viet Nam war was raging. Social unrest, protests, and racial issues were part of our daily diet. There was trouble everywhere we turned. In 1965 a new song hit the charts. This song by Bert Bacharach had a simple message about what the world needs. The title? “What The World Needs Now Is Love.” Here is the message delivered by Jackie DeShannon. https://www.google.com/search?gs_ssp=eJzj4tFP1zcsNM1KMTUqNDNg9JItzs9LVyjPSCxRKMlIVSjPL8pJUchLTU0pVsjLLwcAQkMO_g&q=song+what+the+world+needs+now&rlz=1C1GCEB_enUS984US984&oq=song%2C+what+the+&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j46i512l3j0i512l2j46i340i512l2j46i512.18263j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
Simple but true. Love is the answer to all of our personal and societal ills. It is what we need now. But, getting where we need to be is difficult to accomplish. Why is just loving everybody so complicated? Sounds good. Simple to say, very difficult to do. Why is deeply caring for others so hard? Let me give you a couple of things to consider.
First, I think many of us do not have much of an idea of what love really is. Our society has done a good job of confusing it with sex and emotions. For example, “making love” refers to sexual intercourse between two people, when in fact it may be nothing more than lust and personal pleasure, self-gratification.
Or, we may confuse it with a feeling of closeness toward a person or thing. This can be nothing more than an emotional attachment or feeling about something or someone. I”love” you or my car, my dog, my house, etc.” The word is used so loosely that I’m afraid our understanding of it is pretty unclear, and very different from the biblical idea Jesus talks about in Matthew 22:26-30.
What is the bottom line of the lawyer’s question to Jesus in Matthew 22? He wants to know the meaning of life, and the end purpose for which we are intended to live. Jesus’ answer is succinct and simple, summarizing the fundamental teachings of all God’s laws and the teachings of the prophets. “Love God above all else and love others as you love yourself.”
If you study the scriptural idea of love in Jesus’ teaching and example, the writings of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, Philippians 2, and James 1:27 you will conclude that it is a very practical thing. It may have little to do with feelings but everything to do with the way we act toward God, self, and others.
After years of reading and attempting to understand the scriptural meaning of love, I have come to this working definition. “Love is doing what is in the best long-term interest of the other person.” Search the scriptures and reflect on them and I think you will likely come to the conclusion that my definition may be pretty close to the biblical meaning of love.
Here’s the second problem why loving is a lot easier said than done. Since it means we look out for the best interest of another person, that means we cannot put ourselves first. God and his will are first. Jesus is the perfect example of love in human form.
Here’s the kicker. It is part of our human, fallen nature to look out for number one. We play “god” and the world revolves around us. This is the whole issue with our world. This selfishness, lust for power, prominence, and pride are what’s wrong with us. Some to a greater degree than others, but it is part of all of us. Love is the ultimate answer for me, you, and our fallen world.
So, what’s the solution for me, for you? To love as Jesus teaches requires more of me than I am capable of doing. It necessitates a transformation of my heart and the way I think and act. The Bible tells us this is a conversion or “being saved.”
Our world is not hopeless. We have a savior and his name is Jesus. If you haven’t already done so, ask Him to forgive you and come into your life, and to make a genuinely loving person out of you. If you already know Jesus as your personal savior, ask Him to give you His mind and heart to think as He thinks and to act as He acts toward you.
This world and all the forces of Satan cannot defeat Jesus. We are in difficult times now but we win in the end because Jesus defeated sin and the grave. His love overcomes all things and He works for good in everything for those who truly serve Him.
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