As president of Grace Communion
International, I hear about many inspiring outreach projects that our
congregations are engaged in around the world. Some are simple acts of kindness
and service to those in need. Others are quite extensive, with several
congregations, sometimes across two or three countries, working together on
such projects as providing education for disadvantaged children, vocational
training for young adults, and employment support for poor but hardworking
families. This is one of the great blessings that comes from being a relatively
small, yet very interconnected worldwide denomination.
Christian service and outreach is motivated by
God’s love, which fills us, and which the Holy Spirit prompts us to share with
others. But have you ever wondered about the many examples of genuine and
generous love by people who are not Christians, some of whom might not even
believe in God? Where does such love come from?
“Let us love one another, for love comes from
God,” 1 John 4:7 says. A few verses later we’re told, “God is love.” “Whoever
lives in love lives in God and God in them,” verse 16 continues.
Do you see the implication? Because the Creator
is love, it is “hardwired” into the
creation, and into every human. This means wherever and whenever we see the
expression of love, regardless of the source, we are seeing God’s love, because
no other kind of love exists. “We love because he first loved us,” says 1 John
So what is so special about what we call
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, ”Which of you, if his son asks for bread,
will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you,
then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how
much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
(Matthew 7:9-12 NIV)
Jesus was pointing to a love that goes far
deeper than simply loving those who love us, those who are good to us, those we
naturally care about. He was talking about a love that extends to those whom we
don’t like, and even to those who despise or hate us, who mistreat us, and
might be our enemies.
Earlier in the Sermon on the
Mount, Jesus says, “You have heard that
it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love
your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 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. If you love those who love
you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And
if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not
even pagans do that?” (Matthew
This is how God loves us – Christ died for us
while we were still God’s enemies, Paul tells us in Romans 5:8. God loves his
enemies, and it is that love, a love
without bounds or conditions, which turns enemies into friends.
I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.