Tuesday, November 07, 2006

October 15, 2006--Liking and Loving

Note: Sermon given on Date Listed...Taken from loose outline notes of pastor, actual live sermon may have varied. No video available....

Text: John 15:12; John 13:35; Matthew 25:40

The way to be loving or charitable is not to sit trying to manufacture affection. Some people are just cold by their temperment. I happen to be one who is sometimes in this category. I am a shy guy, and sometimes am very reserved and quiet at first. However, the fact that we might be more reserved, it does not excuse us from learning charity or love.

The rule is simple: don't waste time thinking bothering whether you "love" your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If yo uinjure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.

There is, however, one exception. If you do someone a good deed, not to please God and obey the law of love, but rather to show what a forgiving person you are, or worse yet, to put him in your debt; then you are not pleasing to God. If you then sit down and wait for this person's gratitude, you will probably be disappointed. ( People are not fools, they have a very quick eye for anything like showing off, or patronage.) But whenever we do good to another, just because it is a self, made (like us) by God, and desiring its own happiness as we desire ours we shall have learned to love it a little more or, at least, to dislike it less.

Consequently, though Christian charity sounds a very cold thing to people whose heads are full of sentimentality, adn though it is quite distinct from affection, yet it leads to affections. The difference between a Christian and a worldy man is not that the worldy man has only affections or "liking" and the Christian has only "charity." The worldy man treats certian people kindly because he "likes" them. The Christian, trying to treat everyone kindly, finds himself liking more and more people as he goes on--including people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning....

Some writers use the word charity to describe not only Christian love between human beings, but also God's love for man and man's love for God. About the second of these two, people are often worried. They are told they ought to love God. They cannot find any such feelings in themselves. What are they to do? The answer is the same as before. Act as if you did. Do not sit trying to manufacture feelings. Ask yourself, "If I were sure that I loved God, what would I do?" When you have found the answer, go and do it.

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