Day 5: Love Acts
How do we know if someone loves us? Love is expressed in many ways but each requires action. If someone proclaims their love to us, but no act follows, we will soon realise that their inflated words were devoid of truth and meaning. Christ's action of sacrifice not only shows us that love acts but exhorts us to do the same.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18)
Justice requires action. Love demands a response and as we seek to live lives marked by integrity, our words must align with the things we do. Justice is not something reserved for our institutions. We are called to act justly in how we interact with others. If you say that you believe all races are equal, racism is a sin, and God does not show favouritism, your deeds should say the same.
“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? …So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” (James 2:14, 17)
We are saved by grace, through faith, and not through our actions. However, our actions are an expression of what we truly believe and we will each be held accountable for what we did with our lives. Where man looks at the outside, God looks at the heart, and won’t be fooled by religiosity, i.e. actions to give the appearance of faith. He is not satisfied by “religious acts” (sacrifices, prayers, fasts) devoid of acts of justice and mercy. In both the Old and New Testaments God repeatedly condemns religiosity, and calls people out for their lack of justice-driven actions (e.g. Amos 5:21-24, Luke 11:42).
Love “does”, but “doing” does not always equal loving. Our actions must be rooted in love. Seeking racial reconciliation or pursuing healing and inclusion should not be about following a trend or being politically correct. It must be out of love for every person made in the image of God; otherwise our deeds are “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Without loving others, we would be nothing and gain nothing. In the call to love our neighbours, we must wrestle everything that stands in the way. Pillars like racism must be brought down as we pursue unity in the church and reflect God’s heart for people to the world.
Consider if your beliefs, words, and actions align with God's love.
Reflect on your motivations to act. Are they rooted in love or in something else? Take time to repent if you need to.
Pray about the actions you can take to live out your beliefs in racial equality and take steps to and to seek out racial reconciliation. Consider educating yourself further through reading or watching a documentary and engaging in an authentic relationship with people from other races, ethnicities, castes, or tribes.