LoveAid to Bible Understanding
If the other person asks forgiveness after the wrong is privately pointed out to him, and repairs the damage, the one having love will show that his forgiveness is real, that it has completely covered the matter, as God has.—Prov. 10:12; 17:9; 1 Pet. 4:7, 8.
Love “believes all things.” Love has faith in the things God has said in his Word of truth, even though outward appearances are against it and the unbelieving world scoffs. This love, especially toward God, is a recognition of his truthfulness, based on his record of faithfulness and reliability, just as we know and love a true, faithful friend and do not doubt when he tells us something for which we may not have proof. (Josh. 23:14) Love believes all God says, though it may not be able to grasp it thoroughly, and it is willing to wait patiently until the matter is more fully explained or until getting an understanding. (1 Cor. 13:9-12; 1 Pet. 1:10-13) Love also trusts in God’s direction of the Christian congregation and his appointed servants and backs up their decisions based on God’s Word. (1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:17) However, love is not gullible, for it follows God’s Word to “test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God,” and tests everything by the measuring rule of the Bible. (1 John 4:1; Acts 17:11, 12) Love produces confidence in one’s faithful Christian brothers, not suspecting them or disbelieving them unless there is absolute proof that they are wrong.—2 Cor. 2:3; Gal. 5:10; Philem. 21.
Love “hopes all things.” It has hope in all the things Jehovah has promised. (Rom. 12:12; Heb. 3:6) It continues to work, waiting patiently for Jehovah to bring fruitage, to make things grow. (1 Cor. 3:7) A person having love will hope the best for his Christian brothers through any circumstances in which they might be, even though some may be weak in faith. He will realize that if Jehovah is patient with such weak ones, he should certainly adopt the same attitude. (2 Pet. 3:15) And those he is helping to learn the truth he continues to assist, hoping and waiting for them to be moved by God’s spirit to serve him.
Love “endures all things.” Love is required for the Christian to keep his integrity toward Jehovah God. There is nothing the Devil can do to test the soundness of the Christian’s devotion and faithfulness to God but what love will endure in a way that holds him true to God.—Rom. 5:3-5; Matt. 10:22.
“Love never fails”; it endures and continues to grow. New knowledge and understanding may correct things we once believed; hope changes as the hoped-for things are realized and new things are hoped for, but love always remains in its fullness and continues to be built up stronger and stronger.—1 Cor. 13:8-13.
“A TIME TO LOVE”
As to the period of its extension to others, love is restricted only toward those whom Jehovah shows are unworthy of it, or toward those set in a course of badness. Love is extended to all persons until they show they are haters of God. Then the time comes for love’s expression toward them to end. Both Jehovah God and Jesus Christ love righteousness and hate lawlessness. (Ps. 45:7; Heb. 1:9) Those who in tensely hate the true God are not persons toward whom love is to be expressed. Indeed, it would accomplish no good to continue exercising love toward such ones, for those who hate God will not respond to his loving-kindness. (Ps. 139:21, 22; Isa. 26:10) Therefore God properly hates them and has a time to act against them.—Ps. 21:8, 9; Eccl. 3:1, 8.
THINGS NOT TO BE LOVED
The apostle John writes: “Do not be loving either the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; because everything in the world—the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life—does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world.” (1 John 2:15, 16) He says, later on, “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) Accordingly, those who love God hate every evil way.—Ps. 101:3; 119:104, 128; Prov. 8:13; 13:5.
While the Bible shows that husbands and wives should love one another, and that this love includes the conjugal relationship (Prov. 5:18, 19; 1 Cor. 7:3-5), it points out the wrongness of sexual love toward another not one’s spouse, a fleshly, worldly practice. (Prov. 7:18, 19, 21-23) Another thing of the world is materialism, “love of money” (phi·lar·gu·riʹa, literally, “fondness of silver” [Kingdom Interlinear Translation]), which is a root of all sorts of injurious things.—1 Tim. 6:10; Heb. 13:5.
Jesus Christ scathingly denounced the hypocritical religious leaders of the Jews who liked to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the broadways to be visible to men, and who loved the prominent places at evening meals and the front seats in the synagogues. He pointed out that they had already received in full their reward, that which they loved and desired, namely, honor and glory from men; therefore no reward at all was due them from God. (Matt. 6:5; 23:2, 5-7; Luke 11:43) The record reads: “Many even of the rulers actually put faith in [Jesus], but because of the Pharisees they would not confess him, in order not to be expelled from the synagogue; for they loved the glory of men more than even the glory of God.”—John 12:42, 43; 5:44.
Christ, in speaking to his disciples about his death, emphasized that those who wished to be his ministers would have to follow him. He said: “He that is fond of [phi·lonʹ] his soul destroys it, but he that hates his soul in this world will safeguard it for everlasting life.” (John 12:23-25) One who preferred to protect his life now rather than to be willing to lay down his life as a follower of Christ would lose out on everlasting life, but he that considered life in this world as secondary, and who loved Jehovah and Christ and their righteousness above everything else would receive everlasting life.
God hates liars, for they have no love of the truth. He declared to the apostle John in vision: “Outside [the holy city, New Jerusalem] are the dogs and those who practice spiritism and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone liking [phi·lonʹ] and carrying on a lie.”—Rev. 22:15; 2 Thess. 2:10-12.
ONE’S LOVE CAN COOL OFF
Jesus Christ, in telling his disciples of the things ahead, indicated that the love (a·gaʹpe) of many who professed belief in God would cool off. (Matt. 24:3, 12) The apostle Paul said that, as a feature of the critical times to come, men would become “lovers of money.” (2 Tim. 3:1, 2) It is evident, therefore, that one can lose sight of right principles and that the proper love he once had can fade away. This emphasizes the importance of constant exercise and development of love by meditation on God’s Word and by molding one’s life according to His principles.—Eph. 4:15, 22-24.
Love FeastsAid to Bible Understanding
[Gr., a·gaʹpai (pl. of a·gaʹpe, love)].
The Bible does not describe these love feasts nor does it indicate how often they were held. (Jude 12) They were not commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ or his apostles, and it is apparent that they are not to be considered mandatory or permanent. Some say they were occasions when materially prosperous Christians held banquets to which their poor fellow believers were invited. Together the fatherless, the widows, the rich and the less fortunate shared a bountiful table in a spirit of brotherhood. The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume 12, page 333, says: “The love feast was more than a symbol in the early church. It was a hearty meal whose cost was partly defrayed by the church. It demonstrated the family spirit of equality and