What is Love?
June 18th, 2017
I Corinthians 13: 4, 7-8 and Matthew 7: 1-5
Sermon by Angie Wright
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers around the world. And a special shout out to my dad. I feel privileged to get to talk to you all on such an important day. Fathers, like Mothers, have important roles in our lives. The pure irony of it all makes me pause… is it coincidence or is the Lord guiding me? I know the answer is deep inside of me when I allow my spirit to guide me. We, as Christians, are always on journeys. Choosing which path to take, and being so egotistical that we actually think we have a choice. The irony for me is that it is Father’s Day… and it will be the last with my father here on Earth. This is dedicated to my dad, knowing that all I ever wanted was to make you proud of me… and I believe that I have.
Have you ever realized that God has a sense of humor? I mean… do you ever just take a step back and see things in a different perspective? Then all of a sudden, a lightbulb goes off, and you are like… I know that was You. In the past year, I have seen it more often in my life; I call them storms and lessons learned. Although it does not feel good in the beginning, there is a sense of humbling… and a more complete understanding of oneself. You finally understand the lesson that was meant to be taught. Sometimes the lesson is not a pleasant one, but the outcome is worth it. It is truly amazing when you can see the bigger picture. I am going to challenge you today. I challenge you to open your mind and heart. Take a step back and reflect on the passages that I am going to share with you.
1Corinthians, Chapter 13 starting with verse 4, states, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; does not behave rudely; but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes in all things, hopes in all things, endures all things. The first time I heard this scripture it touched me so deeply; I felt a peace within me for the very first time in my life. That day was my first time as worship leader, and Pastor Tim gave an awesome sermon. Describing what love was and definitely what it was not. This also happened to be the day that I lost my mom. The lesson I learned that day will forever be with me. I knew the Lord was speaking to me; showing me the true meaning of love. This was the beginning of my transformation and my journey with the Lord. I finally understood what love meant, at least a portion of it. I have learned over the past year that the word love has so many different meanings. The question is… are you really, truly willing to understand and show everyone what true love is? Since Pastor Tim’s inspiring words, I have been going around learning what love is. I try to share it with everyone that I come into contact with. Through this path, I have found that love is actually simple, and not meant to be as difficult as we make it to be. I mean, how easy is it to smile at someone; or to open a door to help a stranger? These are very simple acts of love that we can easily do for people. Guess what? It does not cost a single penny to make a difference in someone’s life! I challenge you to walk out of here today and smile or say hi to a complete stranger. Once you start it becomes contagious! Watch the reactions of the people. Take the time to see what their next step will be. Man, I tell you, when I started looking at people and would smile at them; it brought this warmth in me. It’s a feeling of pureness I have never felt and I did not want it to end. I questioned myself daily; what is this that I am feeling and what can I do to continue to feel this way? The more I do for people the more I feel complete. Heck, I cannot get enough of this feeling that flows through me. It is indescribable but pure bliss. Being able to share with you all what I have learned is truly a blessing; and I feel honored. It is a privilege to be able to share my journey and hopefully make a difference in your life today. I want you to go out and make a difference in someone else’s life when we leave today.
Understanding how to love unconditionally, the way Jesus meant us to, can be challenging at times. This year’s new challenge for me has been about judgements. I had an old friend say to me once, “Who am I to judge anyone when I know I have done wrong in my life”. I really liked that statement. I applied those words into my daily life and activities. I tried hard to look at things with an open-mind. Matthew chapter 7, verses 1-5 state, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” Let us look at these passages for a moment. Are you able to take a step back to listen and really understand the meaning? God is the only judge. Who are we to judge? We all do wrong. It does not matter the severity of the sin. What matters is that we let God do what He was intended. We are to accept and love one another and look beyond other’s sins. We all sin one way or another every day. Do you want someone to judge you because of the way you dress; or because you decided to steal food for your family so they can eat? We do not know what others are going through, yet we as a society are quick to step up and judge what we do not fully understand.
Hey… do you remember that Bible verse about a woman that was to be stoned to death because she was said to have committed adultery? John Chapter 8, verses 1-11! Do you remember what Jesus said to all those that were willing to stone this lady to death? This passage is perfect for my message. Listen to this… Jesus says, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Powerful message right there! Can anyone in here ever say they have not sinned? Please raise your hand so we all can see this miracle. The fact is that not a single human can say they have never committed a sin. I can almost guarantee that all of us sin on a daily basis. I know I do, so, I humble myself and ask for forgiveness daily for the sins I have done. What is different, is being able to forgive others that have sinned, right? Why is it so hard for us to forgive someone that has done wrong? Why are we so blinded? Can we not open our minds and put ourselves in their situation, instead of judging what they have done? This is not love. The fact of the matter is, that we cannot love the way the Lord meant us to love, if we are judging one another. Remember, love is the purest of all things when it comes to our Savior. “Love bears all things, believes in all things, hopes in all things, endures all things”.
Let me share with you my lesson with these two passages this past year up to a very recent experience. I was a fool to think I was not judging people, and was blinded by the fact that I have started changing my life. How could I be judging when I am sharing all this love that I have just found? I just received my lesson from the Lord over this past month and it has opened my eyes even wider to the purest of love I can say I have witnessed. In fact, I was judging the people I said I loved so much. My new lesson, a higher understanding of love is letting go and letting God take over. People are all different and our knowledge is different depending how open we are to seeing the truth and doing something about it. I was judging my dad’s wife and the people surrounding him in his time of need. How could they just be ok with him suffering the way he was? Why are they not giving him his medicine the way it’s intended? Why are they not spending every minute with him that they can instead of ignoring him in that hospital bed; making him feel all alone? What am I not seeing? Lord please let me see so I can understand; please I beg of you, let me understand.
It was my blindness that made me judge; I was blinded by the fact I am losing a loved one again and I was not ready for this, so I judged everyone around me. Which in fact, I had to deal with my own guilt I had within and let go of the demons that I was holding onto. It is only when you let go and let God will you have that understanding. LOVE!!!!
Love without judgement, love with knowing you might not get anything in return, love with every ounce of your body. The more you learn to love the more open you are to change and it spreads like a virus. Instead of letting ourselves fall into a pit of hate and judgements, let us spread love and joy. It’s contagious! Spread love the way we are used to spreading judgements. How great would our world be? How inspirational would our lives be if we all just love the way we were intended to? We were put here to help uplift one another, not turn against one another. We all have a purpose on this Earth and we are all supposed to help each other through our journey. We are all connected because we are all God’s people; let’s start living that way. I challenge each and every one of you to walk out this door today and show the love to our community the way you show it here, in this church. We can all start making a difference, it is within each of us, we all have the spirit in us. Let us not forget our purpose on this earth while we are alive… LOVE