Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Great Lent Week 2, Love
Volume 8 No. 463 February 16, 2018
IV. Special Feature: Love

Love Others the Way God Loves You

By Rick Warren

"Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up"
(1 Corinthians 13:7 GW).

The same love that God gives to you, he wants you to offer to everybody else that you come in contact with. It's not an option or a suggestion. It's a command from Jesus himself: "Now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other" (John 13:34 NLT).

If you are a follower of Christ, you must love everybody - whether you like them or not - in the same way that Christ loves you. That means you are to accept them completely, love them unconditionally, forgive them totally, and consider them extremely valuable.

Loving others in this way will transform your relationships!

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:7, "Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up" (GW).

This is how God loves you. God never stops being patient with you. God never stops believing in you. God never stops hoping for the best in your life. God never gives up on you. And that's what God wants you to do with everybody else.

"Love never stops being patient." That means love extends grace. You need to offer grace to others.

"Love never stops believing." That means it expresses faith. You tell someone, "Even though we're having a tough time, I will never stop believing in you."

"Love never stops hoping." That means love expects the best. Are you expecting the best in your marriage, or have you settled for less than the best?

"Love never gives up." That means love endures the worst. It means you can look at the other person and say, "You can throw everything at me, but I'm going to keep loving you, no matter what."


If you want to start transforming your relationships today, then I invite you to pray this prayer to God:

"Dear God, I admit that I have made a mess in my relationships. They're complicated and broken, and I've often settled for less than the best. They need a transformation! I'd like you to begin by changing me. Deliver me from my fears, because I can see how they make me distant and defensive and even demanding. Today and every day from now on, I want to surrender my heart to you. I want to learn to live my life in your love and be filled with your love.

"Help me to accept others, just as you've accepted me. Help me to love others unconditionally, just as you have loved me. Help me to forgive others totally, just as you've forgiven me. And help me to value others as much as you value me. Help me to extend grace to and express faith in the people around me. Help me to expect the best in others, and help me to endure the worst when it happens. I ask this in Jesus' name.


Source: Daily Hope with Rick Warren
© 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Seeing Christ in Others

by Maureen McCann Waldron

Early in my spiritual journey, I frequently read how important it was to see Christ in others. In particular, I admired Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, who saw Christ "in the disguise of the poor."

Try as I might (and surely it was due to a prideful disposition), I was unable to picture Christ in anyone’s disguise. It was impossible for my imagination to make the leap toward seeing Christ in mere mortals whom I could hardly like, much less love. The only solution, I reasoned, was that I must behave in such a way that they could see Christ in me.

One of my 'ministries' was to visit an elderly neighbor, a survivor of Auschwitz. The strength of her character and ready sense of humor balanced her physical fragility and her constant memory of sufferings in that brutal place. Little by little, my visits became more frequent as I learned her history and relished her love of laughter. Many times, in my own loneliness, I would run over to her house, sometimes with a loaf of homemade bread, and find consolation in her company.

And little by little, my sense of performing a mitzvah with its almost imperceptible grain of condescension, like Jack Horner’s Oh, what a good girl am I!, was being transformed by the honest affection of this woman. I no longer had to picture Christ in her so that I could love her. I saw her as lovable in herself. There was no edifying kind of play-acting or imagination necessary. She poured her love into me, and Christ became visible in that love.

Thus does God gently open us to the mystery of how to love. Even I, who had gone through life holding herself off to the side, coolly observing others, was taught that Christ would respond to my clumsy efforts with an ever-warming spirit. I was taught the truth of the Gospel in the prayer of St. Francis, that it is in giving that we receive; it is in loving that we are loved.

About Maureen McCann Waldron

Maureen McCann Waldron graduated from Creighton University with a degree in journalism and then spent 22 years in corporate public relations. After receiving her master’s degree in Christian spirituality from Creighton, she joined Andy Alexander, SJ, in Creighton’s Collaborative Ministry Office.

Copyright © 2009-2019 Loyola Press. All rights reserved.

Loving Your Neighbor as Yourself

by Kelly Givens, Editor,

"And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?' And He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' "
- Matthew 22:35-39

I live in an apartment complex, and new tenants have recently moved into the rental directly below me. I haven't met them yet, but I do know one thing about them: they have an incredibly close relationship with their bass speakers. If you've ever had neighbors with a big sound system, you'll know why I'm frustrated. While other sound waves bounce off or are absorbed by the objects around them, bass sound travels right through. So while I can't hear the words of the song my neighbors are blasting, I can feel the floor vibrating to the irregular heart-beat like bumps of the bass. It's the kind of sound that even earplugs can't always drown out--which is especially annoying at 1 o'clock in the morning.

Situations like these tempt me to toss aside every sermon I've heard on patience, gentleness and self-control and start banging on the floor with a broom handle. But this is completely antithetical to what Christ demands. Jesus' message to "love your neighbor as yourself" is a verse that often gets thrown out there without a lot of thought. However, I'm starting to realize there are major implications of truly loving someone the way I love myself.

How do I love myself? Well, for starters, I'm always thinking about myself. I think about what I'm going to eat for breakfast, what I need to do at work, what I need to pick up from the store on the way home. I also love myself by making my needs top-priority. How I schedule my day revolves around the things I want or need to accomplish. Basically, my thoughts and my day are centered on me.

So when Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, that's a tall order. He's saying we need to think about others as much as we think about ourselves. He means we should remember the needs of others like we remember our own. He means seeking the happiness, goodness, peace, security of others as much as we seek those things in our own lives.

How can we do this- especially to those who annoy us, hurt us, or perhaps even persecute us? When I think about loving my neighbors as sacrificially, as a priority number one, it seems impossible. I can't even say I do this fully for the people I love most. But then I remember the first part of Jesus' command- 'Love God with all your heart, soul and mind." There's my answer. When I focus all my love toward God, he takes my selfish heart and transforms it into a heart capable of loving others. I no longer need others to validate me, be kind or loving toward me in order to love them back. Christ's love is enough. He fills me up so I can pour out selfless love to others, even others with loud bass speakers.

This selfless love isn't something I'm good at- it's not even something I can say I regularly attempt. I'm more selfish than I realize. But God has been using my noisy neighbors to convict my selfish heart, to show me how much better I can be at putting the happiness and peace of others above my own. I know it's not going to be easy to start loving people as much as I love myself, but I know the first step: loving God above everything else.

Intersecting Faith and Life:

Are you loving others as you love yourself? Without loving God first and fully, this is impossible to do. If there is someone in your life you're struggling to love, ask God to help you persevere in loving them - and in loving Him better, too.

Further Reading

Matthew 5:43-48
Leviticus 19:18
Romans 13:9-10

Source: - The Devotional

Do We Know What Love Truly is?

by John Stonestreet,

Several years ago I earned the wrath of a group of teenage girls at a Christian school. No, I didn't question the divinity of Jesus or the historical reality of the resurrection. I did something worse: I made a sarcastic comment about the movie, "The Notebook."

If you haven't seen the 2004 film, it tells the story of Noah and Allie, who meet as teenagers in 1940s South Carolina. Noah is a poor country boy and Allie is an heiress. You can pretty much guess what happens next: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets her back again, and their love lasts through all kinds of trials and tribulations, including Allie's eventual dementia.

The movie's "message" is that their love "can do anything," including arranging the time and manner of their mutual deaths.

As I describe in my book with Sean McDowell entitled, "Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God's Design for Marriage," the girls at the school were aghast that I criticized the film and asked me how I could not like a movie with such a great picture of love.

They're hardly unique in their confusion. It's become increasingly apparent to me how impoverished our ideas about love truly are, and by "our" I include many Christians.

My response to the girls was that, in the film, the love that was supposedly unconquerable and inescapable was really nothing more than just strong emotions, strong feelings. And of course our feelings are fickle and transitory. What's more, the feelings on display in the movie led the characters to break commitments, act selfishly, and otherwise behave badly, all in the name of, and somehow justified by, their "love" for one another.

Recently on 'BreakPoint,' Eric Metaxas took the idea of romantic "soul mates" to task and exposed it for the unbiblical and pernicious notion that it is. Eric's comments brought my experience discussing "The Notebook" to mind.

It also reminded me of the timeless importance of C. S. Lewis' classic book, "The Four Loves." Multiple generations raised on movies, television, and other popular culture are only acquainted with visions of love that are sentimental or erotic. For them, like the characters in "The Notebook," love is just a matter of feelings.

But as Lewis told us, love is much more than that.

The first of the four loves is storge, the natural bond of affection that is the product of familiarity. Storge is the love a parent has for a child and vice-versa. The second love is philia, the bond of friendship. For Lewis, friendship was about more than shared interests; it was a spiritual bond. Friendship was about seeing or at least caring about the "same truth." For Lewis, "Life—natural life—has no better gift to give" than the bonds of friendship.

The third love, eros, or romantic love. According to Lewis, eros is what "makes a man really want, not a woman, but one particular woman." And finally, there's agape, or as Lewis called it, charity. It is "wholly disinterested and desires what is simply best for the beloved."

While storge, philia, and eros all have their place, they're prone to selfishness, pride, and possessiveness in and of themselves. It's only in submission to agape, the love of God, that their risks and dangers can be overcome.

In agape, familial affection, friendship, and even romantic love find their highest expression. Agape enables us to love our family, our friends, and our spouses for their own sake and not for what they give us and do for us.

There just may be no more abused word in the English language today than "love." Or to paraphrase Inigo Montoya in "The Princess Bride," "We keep using that word. I do not think it means what we think it means."

About The Author:

John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.

At Home in God's Love

by Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love (John 15:9, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Our twin grandchildren were born on December 2. Their mom and dad go out of their way to make their birthday special since it is so close to Christmas. But Jodi wanted to make this year's birthday celebration extra-special since Lelia and Jaydan were turning 10 – the first double-digit birthday!

Jodi and Jered sectioned off half of their basement garage for games like hot potato, beanbag toss, and the old fashioned game of Gossip. Thankfully, the weather co-operated. It was a gorgeous day with fresh, crisp autumn air, clear blue skies, and just the hint of a breeze. The kids played soccer, football, and even one or two games of Red Rover until we remembered why we should not play it any more. It is painful!

Nearly all of the kids in Lelia and Jaydan's school class came. It was delicious chaos for two hours. After all of the children left, it was family time – time for us to give Jaydan and Lelia our presents. I could tell Jaydan was especially excited as everyone gathered in the living room to witness the unveiling of the long-awaited birthday gifts. Jaydan has developed a love for Legos and knows his Mimi and Papa delight in feeding that love. He was definitely hoping for a Lego set of some kind.

When Jaydan started to pick up the present we bought him, his mom said, "Jay, why don't you save that one for last?" Jaydan looked at us and grinned. He then began to open the rest of his gifts, hugging his little brother and sisters, thanking them for their gifts. He reached for our gift and then … oh, yes he did … he shook it! When he heard the rattle sound he had come to love so well, he put one fist in the air and said, "Yes! It's Legos! Thank you, Mimi and Papa!"

Yes, the gift was a Lego set, but Jaydan had no idea that it was the Lego Ice Tank he had been wanting for months. When he saw the box, Jaydan's mouth fell open and he said, "I can't believe it!"

We got some great hugs from Jaydan for those Legos! But I was surprised when Jaydan's little four-year-old brother, Mo James, gave me a big hug and said, "Thank you, Mimi!" I didn't understand. "Mo, what are you thanking me for?" I asked. With a sweet smile he said, "For giving my brother such a great gift!"

And a little bit of heaven melted my heart, filling my soul with wonder. I just sat still for a moment, letting the profound truth taught by a child take root.

Mo had not received any presents.
Mo was far too young to play with the Legos Jay had received.
Mo just realized how happy our gift had made his brother and wanted to thank us for giving it to him.

When was the last time you celebrated the success of someone in your life instead of coveting that success?

If we want to live a life full of joy, we must learn to love each other the way Jesus loves us. That is the best kind of love. Jesus said so in John 15:11-12, "I've told you these things for a purpose: that My joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love (The Message).

Jesus spent the first part of the John 15 describing the love God has for us. He wants us to be at home in that love - to revel in it every minute of every day. God's love only sees the best in others – no judgment. When we are at home in God's love, we become a safe place for those who are hurting and broken, those who are lonely and misunderstood.

Today, I encourage you to surrender to God's fathomless love for you. Don't try to understand it. Don't try to earn it. Don't try to justify it. It is a gift – one you can truly celebrate and one in which you can make yourself at home.

Let's Pray

Father, I come to You today in desperate need of Your love. I know I don't deserve it and could never do enough good things to earn it. I am tired of trying, Lord. I surrender. I give You my heart and my soul and celebrate the way You love me. Please help me love others in the same way.
In Jesus' Name,

Now It's Your Turn

Read John 15:1-17. Underline the word "love" in each verse. In your journal, write a love letter to God. Pour out your heart to Him and ask Him to help you be at home in His love.



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