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Love’s Honest Work

Staff Member
Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 1 John 3:18

On this, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, tales of his legendary honesty spring to mind—how he walked miles to repay a woman a few pennies, or how even his two-time political opponent Stephen Douglas called him an honest man. Of course, Lincoln had his enemies, but, friend or foe no one questioned where they stood with him. Because of that degree of sincerity in his words and conduct, he was able to set his mind to solving problems with all his cards on the table.

One of the few direct commands Jesus gave His followers was to love others (John 13:34-45). It was a clear way for them to identify with Him, and to identify themselves as His followers to nonbelievers. But the kind of love Jesus was talking about has less to do with warm feelings or pulled heartstrings than it does with hard, honest effort. Jesus loved sacrificially, giving up divine privilege to come be whipped, beaten, and executed painfully and shamefully.

Given that kind of commitment, you can see how real love is not for wimps. It demands a burning drive to seek someone else’s best and highest good, even if you do so imperfectly. But the occasional wrong note played in an honest attempt to love someone beats the “clanging cymbal” of a life lived without it (1 Corinthians 13:1).

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