As a renowned marriage and family expert, Dr. Gary Chapman has done his fair share of studying, teaching and writing about loving one another.
When he leads a seminar at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove July 29-31, he will address that topic. But, he will address the topic in light of the greatest commandment: to love God.
Chapman says that before we can effectively love one another, we must have a genuine love for God. He first loved us, and He demonstrated that love by giving His son to die on the cross, so our love for Him is a response.
“After we understand what God has done for us, we can’t help but say, ‘Yes, I want to love Him,'” explains Chapman. “Then, when we have responded to God by loving Him back, we can then be agents of His love to other people.”
Loving people can do more than minister to those who already know Christ; it can draw nonbelievers to Him. When we have good relationships, we can be God’s instruments in helping others follow Christ. When we have poor relationships, we become stumbling blocks.
“Let’s face it, there is a lot of hostility in the world. It seems like everyone is against everyone. If we are called to be representatives of Christ, leading people to reconciliation with Him, love is our most powerful vehicle,” explained Chapman. “The command is clear that we are to make disciples throughout the world. So, what is our method? To love and show concern for other people and their well-being. If they can see in us this same attitude and lifestyle as Christ, they can be drawn to us, and we can point them to Him.”
Another aspect of human and heavenly relationships that Dr. Chapman will cover is how to deal effectively with our failures. Attendees will learn how to move past failures and remove barriers between themselves and those they have offended.
“None of us are perfect channels of God’s love,” Chapman said. “Sometimes we lose our temper, and we say things or do things that are not Christ-like, and that can drive people away from Him. The bottom line is we have to apologize and seek the forgiveness of the person we’ve offended, regardless of their spiritual status. To show love, we need to be authentic and honest. We should seek forgiveness from others as we have sought forgiveness from God.”
This kind of love—for God and for others—does not come natural to us, as humans.
“The reality is that we can’t do that apart from the help, the power or the ministry of the Holy Spirit,” Chapman said. “We need divine help on a daily basis.”