– Richard Baxter
Love to Wound
I have a mentor whom I want to tell me when and where I am wrong. I tell this man, whom I love so much and have so much respect for, that he does me a favor by pointing out my errors. I would rather be wrong and corrected than to think I’m okay and go on in error. The wisdom literature in the Bible says a lot about the necessity of having our friends wound us with wisdom than have our enemies kiss us with deceit (Prov 27:6). We know from experience that kisses don’t mean anything if they’re done with insincerity or deceit, as in the case where Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Luke 22:48). If you have a friend, then love them enough to tell them the truth, and tell them that, in love, you want them to speak the truth to you, even if it hurts. Love opens the door for growth for both you and your friend.
Love to Die For
Most of us would die for our spouse, our children, our parents, and perhaps even our best friend, but Jesus said that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for his or her friends (John 15:13). We may never have to give our life for another, but when we give our life in the sense of serving others and sacrificing our time, talent, and treasures for others, we are in a way giving our lives for others. Jesus Christ voluntarily laid down His life for us (John 10:11), and that love shown by Christ opened millions of doors for Christ’s words to say anything to them, like “repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
Love Our Enemies
When He gave the beatitudes in Matthew chapter five, Jesus told His listeners that we are to love our enemies and, more than that, to pray for them (Matt 5:44). Isn’t that what grace is all about? We were given grace when we didn’t deserve it. So why shouldn’t we love others, even our enemies, so that we can perhaps open a door for the gospel to go through? If we are pleasing God in the way we live our lives, even our enemies can be at peace with us (Prov 16:7), and this peace might just be the way we can tell them about the Savior Who can make peace between them and God (Rom 5:1).
Love to Warn
If you saw a blind man heading toward the edge of a cliff and didn’t warn him, wouldn’t that be the opposite of love? The opposite of love is not hate; it is apathy or indifference. If we don’t warn someone, then we really don’t care about them at all. When we see others who don’t yet know Christ and we fail to warn them of the coming wrath of God (John 3:36a), we show that we really don’t care, don’t we? We show people great love when we tell them that if they die in their sins, God will have to cast them into hell (Rev 20:12-15). Isn’t it worth the risk of offending someone or having someone despise us in order that they might escape the coming judgment (Matt 12:36)? This type of selfless love risks much to gain much.