7522 - What We Ought To Do


Audio transcript

Let’s talk about “What We Ought To Do.”

This thought comes from 1 John 4:11 which reads:
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we ought to love one another.”

This command follows verses, which tell us about the ultimate love showered upon us by God. God’s love is an unselfish, sacrificial love, which is bestowed upon undeserving subjects. That’s what happened when God loved us by sending His Son Jesus to pay the penalty of death for our sins, even when we were alienated from Him, we were bitter enemies of His.

So this command is given upon the basis that we have accepted the gift of life offered by Jesus to all who would believe and trust Him. Keep in mind that when Jesus bestows this new life He enters our life to live His life in and through us. That’s the only way we can love as God loves — sacrifically.

When God says we ought to love one another he is not talking about being nice to one another or helping someone when we expect to get something in return. Previously in this book (1 John 3:18) we were told that we were not just to say encouraging words to someone who had a need, but we were to demonstrate love through our actions.

A story by Rebecca Pippert, which appears in Multnomah’s book Stories for the Heart Illustrates this principle. Its called “Lessons from a Young Nurse.”

A young nurse writes of her pilgrimage in learning to see in a patient the image of God beneath a very “distressing disguise.”

Eileen was one of her first patients, a person who was totally helpless. “Broken blood vessels in the brain had left her with no conscious control over her body. As near as the doctors could tell Eileen was totally unconscious, unable to feel pain and unaware of anything going on around her. It was the job of the hospital staff to turn her every hour and to feed her through a stomach tube.” Caring for her was a thankless task. “When it’s this bad,” an older student nurse told her, “ you have to detach yourself emotionally....”. As a result, more and more she came to be treated as a thing, a vegetable....

But the young student nurse decided that she could not treat this person like the others had treated her. She talked to Eileen, sang to her, encouraged her and even brought her little gifts. One day when things were especially difficult, she was especially kind. It was Thanksgiving Day and the nurse said to the patient, “I was in a cruddy mood this morning, Eileen, because it was supposes to be my day off. But now that I’m here, I’m glad. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss seeing you on Thanksgiving.”

Suddenly, she writes, Eileen was “looking at me...crying. Big damp circles stained her pillow, and she was shaking all over.”

That was the only human emotion that Eileen ever showed any of them, but it was enough to change the whole attitude of the hospital staff toward her. Not long afterward, Eileen died. The young nurse closes her story, saying, “I keep thinking about her...It occurred to me that I owe her an awful lot. Except for Eileen, I might never have known what it’s like to give myself to someone who can’t give back.”

Friend, God never insisted that He get something in return from the ones He loves. In like manner, when the indwelling Lord Jesus reaches out through us to love someone, the thought of getting something in return will not be a part of the entire episode.

But think, so many times when we reach out to love someone who needs our love, we do receive something. Oh, it is not a gift from the one we loved in return for our love; but it’s a spiritual gift from our heavenly Father. His love and joy flood our inner being. It’s so wonderful we really cannot describe the blessing to someone else. We’ll never want to miss these special blessings ever again.