If with the tongues of men and angels I speak, but do not have love, I become a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecy and I perceive all mysteries and know all things, and I have all faith so that to move a mountain, but do not have love I am nothing. And if I give all my goods and if I give my body in order to be burned, but do not have love, it profits nothing – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
As Christians, we are instructed to love one another as Christ loved us. Our commandment is to love the brethren and when we are loving we will not violate any law. However, there is also a love related to the world system that often gets mixed into the true love we are to show towards those of the Church.
A new commandment I give to you, in order that you should love one another just as I have loved you, in order that also you should love one another – John 13:34
I recently encountered an example of this worldly type of love in a story of a barber that goes down to the local park in his city each week, bringing his own power and supplies, to offer free haircuts to the homeless. Now at first this may seem like a wonderful thing to do. Even perhaps an expression of love. But is it God’s quality of love, or a human love that is seeking to usurp the love of God?
The love of God seeks the best for the one loved. Is offering a benefit to those who refuse to work an expression of God’s love or human love?
For also when we were facing you, this we commanded you, that if someone does not desire to work, neither should he eat – 2 Thessalonians 3:10
The love from the world is a love that seeks what is best for the one loving, not the one loved. A love from the world seeks to be observed by others so that the one doing it can gain accolades from them.
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and are fond of the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, Matthew 23:5, 6
Those who show a worldly love seek their own benefit.
Luke 11:43 Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.
Luke 20:46 Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and fond of greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;
We are not to love the world, nor the things of the world. Giving benefits to those who refuse to work is a love that belongs to the world and is really only about the person doing the work. It is at its core selfish. If it was not, it would not reject what Scripture states and continue encouraging others to remain being lazy. There is a big different between those who need assistance because they are poor, but are willing and able to work, from those who are vagrants.
Do not love the world nor the things of the world. If perhaps someone should love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Because all the things in the world, the desires of the flesh, and the desires of the eyes, and the arrogant boastfulness of biological life, are not out from the Father but are out from the world. – 1 John 2:15, 16
This type of worldly love has crept into the church seeking to usurp the love of God. By feeding the, so called, poor, or giving gifts to those around the church that never come for the spiritual benefits, but touting about the work they assembly does for the poor and needy while ignoring the needs of their own is worldly and is not something that saints should ever be involved with. If the assembly you are in has a food pantry used to feed anyone coming in asking for food, but will not take care of its own, this is not love. If they have events for the neighborhood giving them food, clothing, school supplies, or anything else, but will not take care of their own first, this is not God’s quality of love. This is a love from the world.
Let us love one another, other saints, for by our love for the saint all will know that we are Christ’s disciples. Not by what we give the ungodly and unrighteous of this world.
By this all will experientially know that you are My disciples, if you have love among yourselves. – John 13:35
Do not let the love of this world usurp the love of God. We as saints need to express love, but we can only do this when we are using what we have in salvation, setting our minds on things above, and allowing the Holy Spirit to fill us with a quality of love that surpasses anything the world can offer, and by this expression of love our actions will testify concerning us.