"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." ~ Matthew 24:9-14.
It's the "lawlessness will abound".. and the "love of many will grow cold" that got to me in this passage.
Wow! The lawlessness of others [the breaking of the law... whether God's laws or man's] can make my "love... grow cold" if I don't watch out and I allow it to????!
I never realized before the picture that those words paint. Nor have I ever thought before of the Truth in that way. We often are quick to hate (or let our love grow cold) another because of what they've done, because we've been offended, because we've been betrayed, because they've hurt another; or, as this scripture puts it, because of their lawlessness.
In November of 2009 I started teaching Bible in a couple of prisons. Throughout the year, more doors opened for me to go in to help with a Re-Entry Program targeted to prepare those whose sentences are up or those about to be paroled for the outside in such a way as to hopefully equip them to NOT re-offend and go back to prison again once released. The module that I've been assigned to work in is the only one that is faith based. It's called: Project H.E.A.L.
Meaning: Helping Everyone Acquire Love!
It's all about love!
It is all about love!
If we can first receive the love that God gives and then learn to love ourselves and then love others despite what they do or have done (their "lawlessness"es) or whether we first like them or not... we won't kill, steal, covet, hate. rape.... etc. We'll be quicker to show mercy, and quicker to grace, and quicker to forgive, to show compassion, to be moved to help.... because as Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do...". We won't sale out our love for the lawlessness of another. Our love will be strong. Because our love will be Him. It'll be His love living out inside of us.
Jesus Christ knew the price of love, but it didn't stop Him. He gave it anyway and commands me to do the same as He did.
May my love stay warm. May it never grow cold. May I love as my Savior loves and as He's told and commanded me to... may it never grow stale, may it never grow old... may it never fail, never fall,... always, no matter what, may it always hold.
Many (many Christians even!) don't want to help those who've served their sentences in prison and have now gotten out, because of the ex-felon's offence (the lawlessness that they've done) the love of those on the outside have grown cold toward them. "They don't deserve it," people think. "They earned the hardness that they're getting." "They've earned the coldness toward them." "Don't bring them here. Don't bring them to me, I have no desire inside to want to help them." "Don't invite them here to go to church, let them find a church somewhere else, I don't want them around my children." Etc...
We often think we love, when rather more often, our love has grown cold.................