“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28 18:20, ESV)
The disciples of Jesus Christ have preached Christianity around the world. From the United Kingdom to all corners of Africa and Asia, including China, Christians have built vibrant churches. We have successfully followed Christ’s commandment in Matthew 28 to make disciples of all nations. However, looking at events and circumstances happening in the church, people around the world are questioning the ethics of Christianity.
A man asks Jesus Christ what is the greatest commandment.
“And he (Jesus Christ) 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. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22 37:40, ESV)
As Christian and as a church, we need to ask a few questions to us and our church.
- What have we preached?
- Have we preached Love?
- Have we really preached that God is Love?
- Have we shown God’s Love through our life?
Did our history preach love?
While missionaries were reaching around the world to preach the gospel, their rulers were expanding their colonialism. The brutal behavior to colonized people and their nations was rising. People who preached the gospel were often mistaken as rulers who promoted colonialism, and many people from developing nations presume colonialism and missionaries as a common strategy.
In Nepal, my non-christian friends assume the Christian ministry is nothing but a political game. Christians need to see that rulers from Christian nations may not have preached love in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Do our present churches preach love?
Our work in the present era doesn’t support that Christianity is about love. The parliament that calls for the breakfast prayer declares war to nations that don’t support its country’s ideologies. Some Christian missionaries and organizations are more obsessed with sharing their doctrine rather than the core gospel.
“When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said “Let us pray.” We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.” — Desmond Tutu
Even as an individual, we are replicating those blunders. We judge people by their faith. We hesitate in having fellowship beyond our congregation. If we see people having an altered view of Christianity, we condemn their faith and proudly pronounce them as an antichrist.
What is more important to us today?
- To say you do not know christ or
- God is Love, and He loves you.
Through our faith, we are self-declaring as righteous, yet we are behaving like a rich man from the story of a rich man and a poor man in the Bible. We are living in a luxury of grace, yet we don’t know love. St. Paul, in his letter to the church of Corinthians, explains about the need of love in our ministry:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1–3, ESV)
I sometimes wonder how beautiful would our world be if we would know and follow love. How beautiful would our present be if our conquerors had remembered that they crucified Christ in the cross of Calvary every time they promoted violence in their colonialism?
How beautiful would our church be if we would be united irrespective of our denominations and doctrine theology? We can’t change our past, but we surely can change our future. How beautiful will our world be if we can preach only love and nothing else?
“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8, ESV)
Have Christians around the world forgotten love? Have we forgotten who are our neighbors? Does our definition of neighbors apply to only those people who follow Christianity?
“No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:12, ESV)
Let’s continue to know love and spread love. Let’s learn to love our neighbors. No matter which religion they follow. Love them not only because God is love, but Christ died for us so we can love one another. Let’s continue to know love.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4–7, ESV)
Let us love our neighbors today and always.