Everybody should feel loved
If love is considered a chore, then something is wrong with our understanding of the gospel. After all, love is the standard for interpersonal relationships, the Chief Apostle said in a divine service recently.
In mid September 2019 Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider immersed himself in the world of Oceania. The first leg of his journey to the District Apostle Area Western Pacific was Samoa. He conducted a divine service in Apia on 15 September 2019 at the Tatte Convention Centre in the presence of the head of state and his wife. The focus of his sermon was brotherly love, of which Apostle Paul writes: “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another” (1 Thessalonians 4: 9).
Paul already took his mission to prepare the church for the return of Christ very seriously, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider said in his opening address. He taught them a faith that persists in difficult circumstances, in trials and tribulations. “Faith means trusting in God,” even when you do not feel His love, when you do not perceive His omnipotence, the Chief Apostle said.
Brotherly love is the standard
Paul explained to the believers at the time how important brotherly love among them was. He referred to the fact that this commandment was, after all, not his own idea, but the will of God. “In other words: this love is the standard, the unit of measurement of our spiritual maturity.” God does not look at our deeds, the Chief Apostle continued, but at our love. “I am not sure that every child of God has understood that” the Chief Apostle said. The best way to strive for brotherly love is to follow and imitate the example of Jesus Christ. “It is not enough to do a good deed every day. We need to follow and imitate Jesus Christ. He tells us how to love.”
Accept one another!
Jesus wants us to love one another as He loves us, the Chief Apostle pointed out. “Actually, he would have so many reasons not to accept me. But He never says that. All He ever says is, ‘Come, you are welcome.’” And in the congregation the same must apply: “Accept your sister, your brother as they are. Don’t put conditions on your love.” Instead, brothers and sisters should support one another, have time to listen to each other, to share their joys and sorrows, and forgive each other. Jesus loved His disciples even when He did not get from them what He wanted from them: sometimes they disappointed Him or even betrayed Him. Yet He never considered His disciples a burden. On the contrary, “He thanked God for His brothers.”
The same should apply today. “Sometimes we say how nice it is to be part of a congregation, but at the same time complain about the difficult people around us.” That means we focus on the weaknesses of our brothers and sisters instead of really loving them, the Chief Apostle said.
At the same time, he did concede that he sees a lot of love when he looks at the many congregations around the world: “Much good is being done out of love for one another.” That is important and needs to grow, “Everybody should feel loved!” In our society people become more and more selfish. “It is always about me, about my ideas, my wishes, my needs—always me, me, me.” In order to be able to survive in such a society, we need to grow in love in order not to become selfish ourselves. “Remember that what we know about the love of Christ is far more important than what we know about our neighbour.”
This is the goal I am working towards
So what is the true core of brotherly love, the Chief Apostle asked: our wish that all people—“our neighbour”—are saved by Jesus Christ. “It is my wish and my earnest endeavour that everyone can enter the kingdom of God. This is what I am working towards and praying for! Let’s help each other in reaching the goal of our faith.”