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It is a commonplace that Christians live by an ethic of love. We are commanded by Jesus to love our neighbors as ourselves. We easily see that loving others includes being helpful.

But what does it mean to help our neighbor?

The apostolic teaching, the authortative interpretation of Jesus, contains these words that at first reading do not seem very loving:

For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10

If any one does not provide for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8

If a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn their religious duty to their own family and make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God. 1 Timothy 5:4

If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her assist them; let the church not be burdened, so that it may assist those who are real widows. 1 Timothy 5:16

So, how is it a deed of Christian love not to feed someone who chooses not to work? How is it a deed of Christian love to demand that men provide for their families? How is it a deed of Christian love to demand that families take care of their own, and not to depend upon the church for maintainence?

True Christian love desires that each person become the person God wants him or her to be. True Christian love does not desire that a person remain in a condition God does not desire. Genuinely Christian help will heip a person become what God want that person to be. "Help" that makes it possible for a person to remain disobedient is not Christian help, it is ungodly enabling.

Sometimes love must be tough.
Category: Christian Belief
Posted by: an okie gardener
The Cuban revival, from Christianity Today.