Last fall my husband and I visited Hungary. During our visit we took many long walks in
the 16th borough of Budapest. At one time, we stopped at a little grocery store. The
couple, who owned the place, were very kind and courteous. First, they helped us and
afterwards, they began to talk to us and ask us some questions. As a result, I had the
opportunity to share with them how
- in 1956 - we escaped from Hungary from that
same district, and what we had to face along the way.
"Naturally, we had to go from one place to the other." - I told them. "However, that was
not too problematic for us because everywhere we went, we found good friends." - I
continued. "For, we usually looked up the local church of our denomination and were
taken in, helped, and surrounded with love. Thereby, we were able to avoid the feelings of
loneliness, and home-sickness."
"For example" - I proceeded - "As soon as we arrived to a refugee camp in Vienna,
Austria, we tried to visit the local church, and they immediately invited us to move into
their fellowship-hall where they were going to take care of us. We accepted their invitation
and were very well taken care of, till our departure to the USA."
"Then, when we arrived to New York City, a nice couple from the local Hungarian church
took us in, till we found a home. While others collected all the necessary basics we needed
to start a new household."
"Are you believers of Jesus Christ?" - The wife asked.
"Yes we are." - I replied. "That's why we found good friends and support, everywhere we
went in the local churches. Furthermore, that's why we didn't get lonesome even in strange
"O! We have some friends who are believers also, and noticed that they too take care, love,
and help each other. In addition, they talk so nicely about each other that it's actually
touching. They are very nice people." - She concluded.
Her testimony was truly refreshing. It reminded me of Jesus' commandment when he told
his own to:
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so
you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you
love one another." (John 13:34-35 NIV)
"Evidently, this couple's friends fulfilled the Lord's commandment. That must have been
the reason for them to assume that - if we looked for, and found such loving people all over
the world - then, we must be believers also. Obviously, loving one another is one of the
best tools for witnessing about, and even winning the lost to Jesus. Maybe that's why
Paul, the apostle, called it
the most excellent way." (1 Korinthians 12:31 NIV)
- I pondered.
"But how can our love toward one another win the lost to Jesus?" - You may ask.
By openly demonstrating how Jesus filled us with his love when we invited him into our heart,
and thereby creating a desire in them to receive him and what he has to offer also.
"Do all believers posses this deep love though?" - You may also inquire.
"No, not everyone."
Maybe this is why the apostle wrote to the Korinthian church:
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the
gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love,
I am nothing.
If I give all I posses to the poor and surrender my
body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily
angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
(1 Korinthians 13:1-7 NIV)
Evidently, some of the Korinthian Christians didn't follow this "most excellent way."
That's why they needed to hear this admonition.
Which brings me to the next questions: Namely, do you and I posses and practice this
kind of love that wins the lost? If not; how can we obtain it?
The following ways:
By - at the time or after receiving Christ - totally yielding ourselves to his Holy Spirit,
who moved into us to represent him. Then - as the ruler of our life - he will be able to
bring forth his fruit in us; part of which is love. (Galatians 5:22-23a)
"But the fruit of the
Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and
For, love is not something we can obtain by our own will or strength. Only
God can produce it in us. It may take some time and trials to produce that tenderhearted,
empathic, understanding love of God. But he will grant it to us, if we let him.
By asking God's Spirit to turn us into loving, caring, tenderhearted people.
By decidedly practicing the demonstration of love toward others.
How? For example, by
stopping in the middle of a sentence, the second we notice that an unloving remark was
about to come out of our mouth.
Or, by staying silent, when we are tempted to gossip or
incriminate someone; and/or saying kind words instead. Then, do these, and more; till love
and kindness becomes second nature to us.
Also, by faithfully studying the Scriptures in order to learn what true love really is like, and
how Jesus expressed his love while on earth.
The little grocery store owners of Budapest, Hungary were impressed by the love of their
Christian friends. As a result, they surmised that Christians love each other.
Do we posses this kind of love toward our Christian friends as well? Do people around
us realize that we are God's children, by the way we love one another, treat and talk about
If we ask the Holy Spirit - who lives in us ever since we invited Jesus into our heart - to
rule our life, bring forth his fruit, and make us loving people. Furthermore if we
continually study the Word and practice to speak and act lovingly;
then, he will be glad to
turn us into such loving people, who continuoysly live out the "most excellent way" to
win the lost.