Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)
Love and Christianity go hand in hand; they are inseparable. Love for God and others is the true mark of Christianity. The essence of our Christianity is to be like Christ in our conduct, lifestyle and behaviour. We believe God to help us change constantly; taking correction till the point where we become like Jesus. Our world today is filled with darkness and things that aren’t godly and God is expecting us as Christians to be the ones who go and shed the light bringing about transformation and changes in our society today. The greatest virtue that separates us from other systems of belief is the word love and compassion. When we recognize and demonstrate this true value, it shows that we are truly Christians and this love is action oriented.
Love is an action word where you recognize and demonstrate the value that you see in people; James 1:7. The Bible kind of love is evident through our actions and not just in our feelings and preferences. When we practice Christianity without our action then, something is missing; it needs practising with a lot of compassion and love. Something is spiritually wrong when we practice Christianity without compassion and love. When we recognize the value in people and demonstrate it, it shows that our religion is of God. The love we are talking about is not about you having so many things that you package together so that people are made to believe that you are a Christian because you come to church.
Luke 10:30-37 captures the story of the Good Samaritan where a particular Jew was robbed and left for dead on the road. A priest came by, saw him and crossed over to the other side to continue his journey; maybe he was late for his appointment. Similarly was the case of the Levite who followed after. Eventually, a Samaritan comes along; who are despised by Jews and vice-versa; he is the one who stops to take care of the wounded Jew bearing the expense for his treatment. It would have been possible for the Samaritan to make valid excuses not to attend to the wounded Jew. However, he went beyond and above the call of duty to attend to this man showing kindness and mercy.
Acts of kindness and mercy open people’s heart. This is why God is mandating us to show kindness, mercy and compassion to people. No one rejects compassion or love, even the people that display having a hard exterior disposition. When we demonstrate our faith by action-oriented love, it produces a magnetic force that pulls people to us and subsequently to Christ; John 13:34. Compassion is the mark of true and genuine Christianity. We say God is love but people can’t see God but they can see Him through love in action through us. We need to show God’s love by demonstrating it.
When was the last time your heart was broken by the things that break God’s heart? When was the last time you went out of your way to do something for someone who you know lacks the capacity to payback? When last have you been a Good Samaritan in someone’s life? Love and compassion is the mark of genuine Christianity. We cannot afford to allow our hearts to become hardened, cold, callous and insensitive to the point that we don’t have compassion anymore.
Things that kill our compassion and hinder us from showing God’s love to people include: our environment; our love can be killed by long exposure to an environment hostile to compassion. We live in these kinds of environments but we can choose to rise above the influence of such an environment. Next is our lifestyle; the pressure of a fast-paced lifestyle can kill our compassion. This can drain us and we need to withdraw sometimes so that we can go and recharge ourselves. Finally, selfishness is another one; we get so used to receiving that we forget to give. Freely we have received and freely we should give. The God-kind of love seeks to give and the true measure of love is being sacrificial. We are recipients of grace and beneficiaries of God’s compassion and God requires that we pass it on to others. Let’s think and imagine what will happen when we show love to the needy and undeserving.