MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, February 14th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Yesterday we told you about a new commentator starting today, and it’s time now to tell you. She’s Trillia Newbell.
Her name may already be familiar to you. She is director of community outreach for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
Trillia’s based in Franklin, Tennessee—not far from Nashville. She lives there with her husband and two children.
REICHARD: Yes, but you won’t always find her there. Trillia travels widely as a public speaker.
She’s written for The Gospel Coalition and other outlets, and she’s published several books. Her latest is God Is For Us, a Bible study on Romans 8.
A lot of Trillia’s work relates to Christian discipleship, so you’ll hear from her often on that. She’ll also talk about marriage, parenting, and race relations.
And today is Valentine’s Day, so here she is to talk about—what else? Love.
TRILLIA NEWBELL, COMMENTATOR: Valentine’s Day is known as the Hallmark holiday. It’s the time when hopeless romantics get to fully express their love. The rest of us stumble into the day remembering at last minute that it might be good to grab a gift. It feels more like a box to check than a heartfelt expression of love.
Our culture is obsessed with love—at least the symbols. We can get on a social media site, like Twitter, say something awful, and then “heart” it. We love everything from hamburgers to socks to movies. We even get to use heart emojis as shortcuts—we don’t even have to say the words: I Love You!
We’ve trivialized love in our society. So when we think of Jesus’s commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves, the command may lack the conviction and sacrifice due its weightiness.
But when you and I read the Word of God, we quickly see that God doesn’t trivialize his commandment to love our neighbor. God commands us to a radical love for others. So radical it includes loving our enemies and persecutors (Matt. 5:43-48) and loving without expecting to receive love in return (Luke 6:27-36). But the most challenging call to love in all of Scripture is to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:34-40).
Every desire for good I have for myself, I’m now supposed to have for my neighbor. Every joy I wish for, I need to wish for my neighbor. Food, clothing, health, success, wisdom, grace, joy—all the things I hope for, I must hope for my neighbor. Ultimately, we hope that our neighbor would know the love of Jesus through his gospel.
Your neighbor may be the person in your home, the woman down the street, or even the random interaction on social media.
Or maybe your neighbor is your political adversary, your religious opponent, or the refugee in the city. Or maybe it’s the woman needing care during her unplanned pregnancy, the unborn baby in that womb, the African-American man you see daily but haven’t spoken to, that MAGA hat-wearing colleague you just don’t get. Whoever it is, you and I have a clear call, a radical call, to love that person.
In 1st John 4 we read: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Our love for our neighbor is one of the evidences of God’s transforming work in our hearts. Our love matters because it points to someone greater than you or me. Our love points to Jesus.
So on this Valentine’s Day and beyond, let’s repent of our failures, receive his grace, and walk in his love.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Trillia Newbell.