What Does It Mean to Love?

I sat in the cool, screened-in Florida room in Orlando. I love the porches with the tiled floors and views of the palm trees. No contending with insects or the little lizards around here. There’s nothing like reading the Word and sipping on a cup of coffee.

Sometimes the Lord seems to tap me on the head and tells me to pay attention. This day was like that.

I happened to be reading Mark 10. All of a sudden verse 21 stood out. The rich ruler had just approached Jesus and asked Him what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him, and the guy said he’d done all this since he was a boy. 

The next words alerted me. “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” Then he told the man he had to sell everything he owned and give it to the poor. That would be like telling Bill Gates to give away his entire fortune.

Of course, the man went away crest fallen because he had great wealth. But that wasn’t my point.

Jesus told him to do something contrary to his lifestyle—be exceptionally generous, even to the level of poverty. The Savior didn’t mince words or sugarcoat his answer. 

What stood out were the words “loved him.” Jesus loved the rich man and gave him lifesaving advice—the way to eternal glory. The ruler couldn’t walk the right path until he got rid of his material possessions he held so dear.

But why did Jesus do this? Because He cared about the young man. Shouldn’t we do the same when someone we love is involved in a lifestyle or activity that is destructive? Especially if that person asks for our opinion. Should we sit by and condone their actions so we won’t “hurt their feelings?”

Proverbs 24:24 says “Whoever says to the guilty, ‘You are innocent,’ will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations.” Those are strong words.

Years ago, I had a young man ask me if I thought homosexuality was wrong. I didn’t take the opportunity to fully explain what the Bible says. Today he’s a practicing homosexual. I’ve often regretted that day.

Be bold enough to speak the truth in love to your friends and family.

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