Three Christian Virtues: Love

The Divine love is one of the main and most important notions of Christianity. It is inalienable from the notion of freedom. God, the Creator of the universe, made all the living creatures free and let them have their own will. Our freedom is a Divine gift from the Lord to the creatures, who are allowed to live free, but at the same in the union with God. This very form of union is what we call the Divine Love. It is a desire to live and serve not just for one’s own sake, but for our close ones as well.

"No one can say what God’s love is, if the Holy Spirit does not reveal it. But in our Church God’s love is known by the Holy Spirit, and this is why we can talk about it." (St. Silouan the Athonite)

"The Lord teaches us to believe just like a mother teaches her child to walk. She sets him down, turns aside and tells him to go in her direction.  The child cries without her support and fears to make a step. He tries to go but falls on the ground. This is how God teaches us to believe. Our faith is weak like a child who cannot yet walk. Sometimes God leaves a Christian and make him suffer, but then, when there is a need, He saves him. God is near and He is ready to take a weak Christian in His arms. This is why we should learn to turn our heart to God in case of any grief or devil’s schemes. Pray wholeheartedly and ask Him for help, and then you will get what you want. You just need to know God with your heart and hope for Him, to believe that He is all-merciful. This is how God teaches us to accept our weakness and to hope for Him." (St. John of Kronstadt).

The life of the heart is love, while rancor and enmity are its death. God makes us live on earth so that love can penetrate and fill our hearts. This is the aim of our temporal world. God’s love arises in us and acts, when we begin to love other people just like we love ourselves; when we do our best to serve other people, our close ones, and are ready to share with them everything we have; when we try to please God instead of pleasing ourselves; when we submit our material mind to God’s mind… In the Holy Scriptures it is said: “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1 John, 4:20) and “And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians, 5:24).

Remember that God is in every Christian. When a person comes to you, have respect for him, as God is in him. The Lord expresses His will through people quite often: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians, 2:13). Be sincere with everyone and be kind towards other people. Remember that sometimes God makes the hearts of the unfaithful turn to us, just like it happened with Joseph: “But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (Genesis, 39:21).

Remember that a human being is a greatest creation of God. But after the fall this creature(human beings) became infirm and subject to many weaknesses. Do love him and respect him, as he is the bearer of the Lord’s image, and carry his weaknesses. It was said: “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Romans, 15:1), “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians, 6:2).

Do love every human being despite all his faults. In spite of the sins, remember that the image of God is the only basis of a human being. Sometimes peoples’ weaknesses are evident, for example, when they are angry, proud, envious, and mean. However, remember that evil lives in your soul as well. At least, all people are equal in their sins: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans, 3:23). We are all guilty in the face of God and we all need His mercy. That is why we should put up with and forgive each other, so that our Heavenly Father could forgive us for all our sins as well: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew, 6:14). Can you see that God loves us very much, that He has done and has been doing so much for us, that He punishes mercifully and forgives generously? If you want to heal someone from his sins and flaws, then do not try to do it by your own means. In such a way we rather harm than help, for example, because of our pride and impatience. But lay your sorrow upon God and pray wholeheartedly that He enlighten the heart and mind of the person.  And if He sees that your prayer is full of love, He will fulfill your wish. Soon you will notice that the person you have been praying for is going to change.

Being a true Christian who strives to do good and preserve the treasure of love, be happy for every opportunity and be kind towards other people. Do not seek kindness and love, but consider yourself to be unworthy of them. Rejoice best when you have a possibility to help someone. Show your love without any ulterior and mercenary thoughts, and remember that God is love, a Simple Being. Remember that He knows all your thoughts and wishes. Be brave and determined for every good deed, kind words and concern, and especially for sympathy and help. Always say: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians, 4:13), “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark, 9:23).

Translated from: http://azbyka.ru/lyubov-carica-dobrodetelej