How often do we hear people use this expression! Maybe you drive round a corner to witness a huge traffic jam and whisper “oh for the love of God!” Perhaps your children are pushing you to the limit and as you go to chastise them you step on a pile of Lego left out and scream “oh for the love of God!”. Possibly a day at the office is now a night at the office as your assistant hasn’t done what was asked and now a long night lies ahead as you complete the task and head in your hands you moan “of for the love of God!.” This expression is left for those moments you are at your wits end, you have run out of patience. But do we really appreciate what we are saying? Realistically when we are in these situations it is the love God has for us that will get us through. It is the love of God at that particular moment in time that we are missing! When we accept the love of God and channel it towards others, impatience will become more of a rarity and a sense of calmness should feature more heavily in our lives.
The further I walk with Jesus the more I understand that the Holy Bible is love. It is a love story between God and His people. Love is so important to Jesus that he separated two commandments from all of the law and the prophets to be the greatest of these:-
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
In other words, if we give all of ourselves to God we will naturally fulfil the law. If we are focussing our everything on God it is through His eyes that we will view the world and in this way love will naturally flow. Not the love of man which so often involves selfish love or requited love but a love that flows towards even those who hate us and seek to do us harm.
These are the greatest commandments of all the teachings of Scripture and they both involve love. There is no mention of judgement, of retaliation against persecution or segregation or elitism, just love.
Martin Luther King offers advice on “loving your enemies” in a sermon of the same name. He said, “within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good.”
He called for his congregation to first look honestly at themselves, ask why someone may not like you, it may not be your fault, it may be jealousy, it may be the colour of your skin, however, you may have hurt an individual in the past and forgotten about it, you may have a negative personality trait. Then, he advised when looking at others to find the good within them. I understand this may be very difficult at times, but I assure you there is good in everyone, the Bible tells us so “ With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.” James 3:9
We don’t need to utter the words “oh for the love of God” in our exasperation, God already loves us, each and every one of us.
As God loves us so should we love others
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:44-45
To accept God’s love and radiate his love to others is not without challenge. Unfortunately, we can see a lack of love all around us in our lives today. Whilst I am sure lack of love has always been an issue in our sinful world, social media seems to bring this right to our front door on an hourly basis. It is at once a positive influence and lifeline and a negative presence which has led to loss of life. Facebook can be filled with naming and shaming articles on local resident pages, hateful people are targeting celebrities because of the colour of their skin, or the way they choose to live their lives. BBC News comments can quickly turn ugly as people make slurs at those who are desperate enough to try and enter our country on dingy or lorry. How do we continue to love in the face of such hate? Martin Luther King suggests that to remain quiet is to be as guilty as those who behave in this hateful way. He did not for one second suggest involving oneself in hateful bickering or physical aggression but rather to stand firm in one’s beliefs and speak out in love. God does not intend for his love to stop within us but for us to radiate His love towards others around us. Love is the most powerful tool we have in our armoury. So, let’s turn our negative expression in to a positive one!! It is “for the love of God” that gives us strength to make our world a better place! “Oh, for the love of God!! Hallelujah!!
I will leave you with Martin Luther King Jr
Love and Blessings