Obedience is a form of discipline that requires truth and love to be well-integrated, as well as holding each other in mutual examination. Obeying that which flies in the face of truth is a very dangerous and foolish act, as it either benefits self while doing harm to others, or it leads everyone to ruin.
We are often wooed and persuaded by various different ideologies, many of which are affirmed and accepted based on the claims of truth and logic, and the positive impact they may have on quality of life and character, of the self and for society.
These ideologies, even if based on truth, need to be subjected to the test of love when applied – love for self and for others. Even truth, or a worthy word, may have a counterproductive effect when spoken at an inappropriate time or context. Often, this is because the truth spoken had not undergone a careful examination through the lens of love, resulting in negative emotional reactions.
For Christians, obedience is the real test of our love for Christ. Jesus said: “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21)
The call to obey, be it from Jesus Christ or the Bible’s teachings, is never about doing harm to others, or anything evil. When calls are made for action in the name of the Lord, they must not go against His attribute of love, and His truth that we love our neighbours as ourselves (Luke 10:27).
The Bible declares, “Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10), while also exhorting us to “put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14b).
With the arrival of 2018, let us pray for world peace, and may all who believe in the Lord our God not only obey His will, but also obey the truth of loving our neighbours, that this world may experience love.
Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung –
was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2016. He served as President of the Chinese Annual Conference for two quadrennia from 2008 to 2016.
Picture by artitcom/Bigstock.com