Lesson 9 - Impersonal Love for All Mankind

Impersonal Love for All Mankind

Impersonal love is not what we normally think of as love.  It is the virtue in your soul that causes you to have a relaxed mental attitude toward others and treat them with kindness, compassion, patience and forgiveness.  In other words, impersonal love is how we treat others.  Therefore, impersonal love must be based on the virtue of the subject, the one doing the loving (“the treating”). Impersonal love is a function of the Royal Ambassadorship of the believer.  It is our love for God that motivates us to exhibit impersonal love toward all.  Impersonal love operates from the integrity and virtue that you have developed from learning and applying Bible doctrine.

As a Royal Ambassador, you represent God before the world.  Therefore, as royalty, you are to conduct your life accordingly.  This calls for high standards of excellence in every area of your life.  It calls for honor in your dealings with your fellow-believers and with unbelievers alike.  With Jesus Christ as our example, we are to exhibit the same kind of love that He exhibited.  This kind of love can be accomplished only by a believer with Bible doctrine in the soul, who is being controlled by the Holy Spirit.

When we are properly functioning under the control of the Holy Spirit, we will adhere to the principles found throughout the Word of God.  These principles will enable us to exhibit impersonal love toward others.  This means that we will treat everyone with respect, not on the basis of our “pet prejudices” regarding race, social status, ability or what a person can or cannot do for us. We will refrain from gossip, maligning, judging, character assassination, etc. In other words, we will “live and let live.”  The principle of treating everyone with respect also means that we will be tolerant, be thoughtful and be kind toward others.  We will hold no grudges or resentment against anyone. (I John 4:17-18)

 

I Corinthians 13:1-8

-Even if I am able to speak many languages of men and the language of angels and do not have love, I am only a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal.

-And if I have the gift of telling forth God’s will and purpose and understand the mysteries of God and have complete knowledge, and though I have sufficient faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love, I am useless.

-And even though I give all my earthly goods to feed the poor, and even if I sacrifice my body as a burnt offering and don’t have love, I gain nothing for my efforts.

-Love patiently endures a long time and is kind.

-Love is not envious or jealous of others.

-Love is not boastful or arrogant.

-Love is not puffed up with pride.

-Love does not behave itself rudely or unmannerly.

-Love does not insist on its own rights or its own way.

-Love is not self-seeking, it is not resentful of others.

-Love pays no attention to a wrong it suffers at the hands of others.

-Love does not rejoice in injustice or unrighteousness but joyfully sides with right and truth.

-Love bears up under anything and everything that comes and is always ready to believe the best of every person.

-Love is full of hope and truth in any circumstance and endures everything without weakening.

-Love never fails, fades out, becomes obsolete or comes to an end.

The Word of God teaches us who we are to love. We are to love God, ourselves, and others.  Husbands are told to love their wives, and wives are told to respect their husbands.  Parents are to love their children and children their parents.  We are to love fellow believers.  We are even to love our enemies. (Mark 12:30; Ephesians 5:21-6:4; I John 3:14; Luke 6:27)

The Word of God teaches us how we are to love.  We are to love unconditionally, as God loves.  This means that we are to love others regardless of their race, their beliefs, their language, their place of birth, their body type, the color or style of their hair, their clothes, their behavior, etc.  We are even to love them despite their sin.  We love the “sinner” not the sin.  And, of course, our great teacher was the Lord Jesus Christ.  We simply need to practice loving in the same manner as He did. (I John 3:16-24; James 2:1-10)

The Word of God also teaches us why we are to love.  Remember what we have learned about God’s love.  He loves because He has integrity.  Integrity is defined as a state or quality of being complete (God’s love is complete); an unimpaired state of honesty and purity (God’s love is honest and pure); a character of uncorrupted virtue or a loyalty to the truth (God’s love is virtuous and based on truth).  Virtue is strength of character based on objective reality.  Since God is all of these and more, the objective reality is that He is love.  We love because God first loved us. (I John 4:7-11)

Since the entire Godhead indwells each of us as believers in the Christ, God’s love also abides in us.  The question is how do we get it out of us so that it benefits us, and others.  This is what we have studied with regard to the character of Christ being formed in us.  Under the filling or control of the Holy Spirit, God is able to produce the fruit of the Spirit in the life of the believer.  The first fruit listed is love. (I John 4:11-16)                

No one can execute the Christian Way of Life without love.  This includes love for God, love for yourself and love for others.  This is the correct order in which we are to love - God first, ourselves second and others third.  Why is this true?  The Bible says that if we are unable to love our fellowman we cannot love God.  Therefore the opposite is true, only by loving God can you have unconditional love for others.  The Bible also says that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, which means that love for self precedes love for others.  As a matter of fact, love of self teaches us how to love others. (John 15:10; I Corinthians 13:1-3; I John 3:16-24; [Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31 – The Golden Rule])

“Self-love is not selfish when the love that we lavish upon ourselves is also lavished upon others.  Selfish love is the love that is exhausted upon ourselves, until there is none for others.”  (Renaissance New Testament, vol.7, page 389)

 

Practical Applications of Conditional and Unconditional Love

The World System implies that “love” means that we enjoy someone, admire them, that they make us happy, that they treat us nicely, etc.  It is easy to love someone like this. 

The challenging kind of love is unconditional love.  Unconditional love is loving someone that we don’t enjoy, that we don’t admire, that does not make us happy, that does not treat us nicely, etc.  Developing and learning to utilize unconditional love as a “tool” in our daily experience is of utmost importance for a victorious Christian life.  This requires setting aside our emotions and instead, thinking and applying Biblical principles in order to produce right attitudes. 

Right attitudes will produce right behavior.  Loving others unconditionally often requires adjusting and adapting to others instead of expecting others to adjust and adapt to us.  This does not mean that we condone bad behavior, rather it means that we love others in spite of their behavior.  After all, we don’t know what a person has gone through or is going through that is affecting their behavior (“walk a mile in his shoes”).  Unconditional love is selfless love - loving without asking “what’s in it for me.” 

We must learn to have a relaxed mental attitude, to “live and let live” and stop judging others and allow others the “right to be wrong.”  We cannot control the behavior of others, but we can control our own.  Since we are only responsible for our behavior, we have no pressure to try to change or control anyone.  A relaxed mental attitude towards others contributes to both our health and our happiness.  We can only possess this relaxed mental attitude as we begin to grow up spiritually. (I Thessalonians 4:9-12; I Peter 3:8-16; James 2:1-9)

Growing up spiritually requires the use or application of what you have learned.  This means we need to train ourselves, replace old bad habits with new habits consistent with our new spiritual nature.  We accomplish this under the control and guidance of God the Holy Spirit.  When this occurs, the Holy Spirit is able to produce the character of Jesus Christ in us.  Divine agape love is a characteristic of Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 5:17; Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 5:14)