Pastor  Mike Dedera preached on love this weekend at Jefferson Baptist Church. The gist of the message was that love is a commitment we make before it is an emotion we feel. The greatest commandment in the Bible is to love. The point is that it is a commandment that we choose to obey, or choose to disobey. Those who fall in and out of love will mess up their lives and the lives of others around them. Love is patient by choice, love is kind by choice, love does not take into account a wrong suffered by choice, and love puts the other person first by choice. We choose to love our husband or wife, we choose to love those we like, we choose to love our enemies, and we choose to love the really difficult to love. The result of choosing to love by choice, by commitment instead of following our emotions is that we have good marriages, we have unified families, we have healthy relationships that bring great joy into our lives.

We have physical bodies that we try to take care of so that we will have good health and won’t get sick. We also have a soul, our inner person, the real us, and we can have a healthy soul or a sick soul. When we choose to love those around us our soul becomes healthy and strong, resulting in joy, peace, confidence, freedom from fear, strong self worth, and a deep contentment.

When we choose to hate people, to be bitter towards them, to slander them, to refuse to help them, to wish the worst for them, and to rejoice when they suffer or fail, we cause our own souls to be sick and weak. It is funny, though I guess funny is a poor choice of words here, that those who hate somehow think that they are changing things or making people pay, but the only one that pays is themselves.

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