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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of October 4, 2021

Do you lack the unity in community?

All Christians share a common bond—a belief in Jesus. But unfortunately that bond is often overlooked or damaged by strife and discord.

However, the Bible instructs Christians to live in harmony with one another and to bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another (Romans 12:16, Colossians 3:13). This need for love, harmony, and forgiveness is important because we, as Christians, cannot be an effective community without unity—and that means helping each other, forgiving each other, and walking in love with one another.

Galatians 6:2 says, Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. This means that if we help each other—in other words, walk in love—then we, as Christians, will fulfill Christ's law, which is to love one another (see John 13:34-35). Any Christian community must have unity.

Before you can love others, you must receive God's love for yourself, because you cannot give away something you don't have.

God deeply and intimately loves you! His love for you is unconditional—no strings attached, and there is nothing that you can do to get God not to love you. Indeed, Romans 8:38-39 says that there is nothing that can ever separate us from God's love.

Knowing that God loves you is central to your understanding of the Gospel, for the entire Gospel is based on God's love (See John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10). The good news is that God hasn't withheld His love from us; instead, God has poured out his love into our hearts (Romans 5:5).

But what do we do with that love? We know God loves us, but so what? What should we do with God's love? Give it away! Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:11). In other words, our response to the news of God's love for us needs to be to love others. Indeed, Jesus repeatedly commanded us to love others (See Matthew 5:43-47, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 6:27-35, John 13:34-35, John 15:12,17).

However, it is impossible to love others unless you know, believe and receive God's love. 1 John 4:19 says, We love because he first loved us. In other words, we are able to love other people, because God first showed His love to us. If God hadn't shown His love to us, we would have no standard and no example on which to base our love for others.

Similarly, 1 John 4:7 says, Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Here again, our ability to love one another is only because love comes from God.

Think of your ability to love others like a glass of water. At first, the glass is empty. If you don't have any water in your glass, then you obviously can't give water to anyone else. But when you hold your glass under a faucet and let the water pour out into your glass, it will fill up. Then, once it is full, your glass will overflow, and you can let the water pour out to everyone around you.

If you don't have love in you, then you can't give love to anyone else. Therefore, you must first receive God's love, before you can love one another.