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Love for Fellow Man


A Christian is recognizable by his or her love for their fellow man.  This comes from one of the teachings of Jesus which is as follows...

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
(John 13:34, KJV)

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
(John 13:35, KJV)

I have mentioned before the difference between religion and Christianity.  This is the guts of it.  Religionists talk the talk but a Christian walks the walk.  A Christian will exhibit a sacrificial love for his or her fellow man.  They will be prepared to go out of their way to help someone, often at some personal cost to themselves.  In an extreme case they will lay down their own life to save someone else.  Any man worth his salt will stick his neck out for his family and loved ones, but a Christian will do it for a stranger. 

They are not the sort of people who say to a homeless man that they will pray for him.  They are the sort of people who will take him into their own home.  They will knowingly place themselves at risk in doing this because some of the homeless are less than honest, but they will show that person a glimpse of a different lifestyle, and trust God to protect them from any evil that may come out of their actions.

A Christian is a person who sees it as duty to feed the hungry and house the homeless.  They are not frightened to get their hands dirty in doing the Lord's work and representing Jesus in the world.  They are prepared to share the gifts God has given them, whether it be wealth or knowledge or even a big house.

The law of God is the ten commandments.  Sin is defined as transgression of that law.  The ten commandments can be divided into two.  The first four define how we are to love God and the remaining six define how we are to love each other.  However, it is not possible to have a self sacrificial love for others without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit because such goes against human nature which places self first.

The bible tells us that if we are able to exhibit this kind of love for other people, we have fulfilled all the requirements of the law.  That means the Holy Spirit will be dwelling inside us, whether we have known Jesus or not.

While love for one's fellow man identifies a person as a disciple of Jesus, not exhibiting that love exposes a false Christian.  It is a sad fact that many who profess Christianity are hypocrites; not letting their Christian beliefs interfere with how they do business or relate to others in day to day life. Here is a little poem I was taught at school by a Teacher with a capital 'T', Bill McNicol.  He recommended it as a code for living.

HUNT, LEIGH

ABOU BEN ADHEM

Hall 1836: Original Text Reference.
Composition Date: unknown. Publication Date: 1838.
Ed. (text): J. D. Robins; (e-text): I. Lancashire.
Rep. Poetry: 2RP.2.156.

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:--
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?"--The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
The religious world is heavily populated with people who are only too willing to condemn others.  There are also plenty who feel so strongly about their religious duty that they seek to force their views on others and in extreme cases force them at penalty of death.  We saw this happen throughout the dark ages when the dominant Roman Catholic church in Europe executed millions of people for the crime of being a 'heretic'.  Muslims call people who do not share their views 'Infidels' and will willingly kill an infidel who does not adopt their religion.  In countries under Muslim rule converting to Christianity carries the death penalty.

The Christian recognizes that God has given us all a free choice and God wants people who come to Him willingly and of their own free will.  There is no place for coercion or force.  Any church, organization or country that enforces religious observance is NOT of God.   No true follower of Jesus has ever persecuted or tried to force anyone against their will.

There is nothing I can do that will make God love me more than He already does, and there is nothing I can do that will make God stop loving me.  His love is unconditional.  He will not force me.  If I sin, He will forgive me provided I repent.  He will seek me if I stray.  He gave His life in the crucifixion of the man Jesus, Son of God and Son of man, so that I could choose to have eternal life if I wanted to.  As a Christian, I am to reflect that character.  Not to condemn, but to save; and hopefully, by my example lead others to accept Jesus for themselves.  Anyone so moved should understand that I am a sinner, and my example is flawed.  The example to follow is that of Jesus Christ, given to us in the Gospel books of the New Testament.

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