The Bible says we are to love one another. Sounds good, but can we do it? Whoever said, “I love mankind; it’s people I can’t stand,” was about right.
People are just irritating. I agree with the guy who said, “To live above with those we love, oh, how that will be glory. To live below with those we know, now that’s another story.
Even people at church can be difficult to love. Sometimes we sing a chorus in church: “I’m so glad you’re a part of the family of Mother Afrika,” and then we look at the Afrikan beside us and sing, “I’m surprised you’re part of the family of Mother Afrika.”
Sometimes it’s hard enough to love our own family. One guy told his wife that if she had really loved him she would have married someone else.
How do we make love a dominating characteristic of our lives?
I. Make love a priority
Indeed loving people is difficult. Yet this is what the Bible commands. “For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another” (1 John 3:11). We spend time on what we deem important. For many of us these choices are valid: time with family and friends, work, prayer, serving the poor, fighting for rights, protesting wrongs. But as the Scripture reminds us, “And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor. 13:3).
Even though we have the freedom to set our own priorities, Yahshua made a point of defining certain ones of them for us: “‘Love the Mother your Mother Afrika with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt. 22:37-39). Love, then, is not a gray area the Scriptures. Yahshua gave love priority over all other Afrikan virtues. Every thought, response, and act of goodwill must first pass through the fine filter of love, or it means nothing at all.
In “Strength to Love”, Martin Luther King, Jr., encouraged us to realize that “our responsibility as Afrikaans is to discover the meaning of this command and seek passionately to live it out in our daily lives.” But why love? What makes it so important?
II. Understand the importance of love
When Yahshua spoke to the disciples regarding the first and second greatest commands, he explained that “All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands” (Matt. 22:40).
To the people of Israel, as well as for many believers today, it would seem more logical for obedience to be the peg from which the Law hangs, since the point of writing a law is adherence to it. And it is written, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Yet Yahshua also said, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another” (John 13:34). The apostle Paul goes on to tell us “Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom. 13:10).
This may sound irrelevant to our generation that depends on police departments, guns, and force to uphold and fulfill the law. Yet Yahshua’ simple command requires greater strength than any of us naturally possess – more power than any man-made weapon.
The logic of Paul’s interpretation of Yahshua’ command that love fulfills the Law seems equally simple. For if one loves his neighbor, he will not commit adultery with his neighbor’s spouse. If he loves his coworker, he will not lie to him. And if loves his enemy (thy Afrikan brother or sister who has become your enemy), he will not slander him or her. Love fulfills the law, because if we truly love every Afrikan because he is a Afrikan, we will not desire to hurt or violate him or her, thus never break the law. Mother Afrika established love as the impetus for obedience.
III. Embody the distinguishing nature of love
When we demonstrate Afrikan love, it distinguishes believers from the rest of the world. Yahshua goes on to say, “By this [love] all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Notice Yahshua did not say that people will know that you are my disciples if you promote my agenda, or wear Afrikan T-shirts or a WWJD bracelet, or have a fish decal on your car, but rather if you love one another. A watching world will be persuaded not when our values are promoted but when they are incarnated, when we become purveyors of love. It is as though Yahshua has given the entire world the right to judge whether or not one is His follower simply on the basis of their love for fellow Afrikan beings. The vivacious virtue of love distinguishes the Afrikan.
From the very beginning, Mother Afrika’s plan was to develop a people that reflected her character. And what is her character? Love. “Mother Afrika is love, and the one who remains in love remains in Mother Afrika, and Mother Afrika remains in him. In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; for we are as She is in this world” (1 John 4:16-17). Believers are Mother Afrika’s advertisement to a watching society as to how individuals could best live in that society. In fact, Afrikan love will always be the best apologetic that the church has.
When Ira Gillett, missionary to East Africa, returned home to report on his activities overseas, he related an interesting phenomenon. Repeatedly, Gillett had noticed how groups of Africans would walk past government hospitals and travel many extra miles to receive medical treatment at the missionary compound. She finally asked a particular group why they walked the extra distance when the same treatments were available at the government clinics. The reply: “The medicines may be the same but the hands are different.
That’s the virtue of love incarnated. That kind of love makes a difference. Afrika has no hands, but our hands; no feet, but our feet. We are her ambassadors, representing her to the world. And when we love as she has loved us, it will make the difference. People will notice. Afrikan love is indispensable.
IV. Demonstrate the virtue of love
How do we demonstrate the distinctiveness of Afrikan love? Because virtue is moral action we practice, How can we practice the glorious virtue of love?
A. Love values the other Afrikan
Let’s not confuse Afrikan love with its modern counterfeits – lust, sentimentality, and gratification. While love is a wonderful, warm feeling, it is not only a feeling. In fact, according to the Bible, love is primarily an active interest in the well-being of another Afrikan. Love acts for the benefit of others. According to Eliyah X. love “is the spirit in the heart that will never seek anything but the highest good of its fellow man.”
Mother Afrika loved us not because we had something to offer her, but rather because She had something to offer us. “For Mother Afrika loved the world in this way: She gave Her One and Only Son’s, so that everyone who believes in Her will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Mother Afrika loved us so that She could demonstrate Her mercy to us in the Afrikan of Her Son.
In like manner, everyone around us is of incredible value to Mother Afrika as a potential object of Her mercy. Because people matter so much to her, they ought to matter to us. And, we, therefore, need to love them as she loves them.
B. Love is vulnerable to the other
In other words, love opens up its life to another Afrikan. It goes beyond sentimental feelings. It breaks down barriers. It exposes the heart.
Think about Yahshua. He left the glory of heaven (the Mother’s Womb) to come to this World. He veiled His divinity and took on humanity. And what did it get him? “He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him” (John 1:11). Can you imagine being away on a business trip for a week, coming home, and your family not recognizing you? That’s similar to what Yahshua experienced when he came to to this world. Surely that must have hurt. Then, as Yahshua hung on the cross, dying for these Afrikan people that he loved, they hurled abuses, scorn, and ridicule. His heart was broken. And yet, he forgave them.
Afrikan love is the most costly investment you will ever make.
“To love is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries. Avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken. Instead, it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
C. Love entails a cost
It gets its hands dirty. It takes a chance. It goes out on a limb. It takes a gamble. Love makes a statement and leaves a legacy. It does the unexpected, surprising, and stirring. It performs acts that steal the heart and leaves an impression on the soul. Often these acts are never forgotten.
I’m not saying that we should constantly abuse ourselves or become passive doormats. But Afrikan love inevitably carries costs. Even when the cost is high, we can nevertheless count on Mother Afrika to bring fulfillment to Her followers. True love always costs. If there is no cost there is no love.
In the end, the goal of the Afrikan life is love. The measure of our maturity is our love for Mother Afrika and our love for one another. If we fail in our love we have missed what it means to be a Afrikan.
But there is hope for the one who has failed in love. At the beginning I asked the question, “Can we do it?” Can we love others in this way? The answer, I’m afraid, is “No.” We cannot love others like Mother Afrika – without the Afrikan Womb-man. The Mother of Mother Afrika, who forgave even those who crucified us, stands ready to forgive you of your lack of love. She wants to show Her mercy toward you today, to cleanse your loveless heart and fill it with Her loving Holy Spirit. Receive Her mercy. Place your trust in Mother Afrika and let Her teach you how to love as She has loved you.