“What the World Needs Now Is Love” was a popular song in 1965 with lyrics by Hal David and music composed by Burt Bacharach. Jackie DeShannon’s version of this song was released on April 15th andher song reached number 7 on the US charts in May of that year. To listen to this song Click here.
The lyrics to this song are as meaningful today as they were when they were written:
What the world needs now is love, sweet loveIt’s the only thing that there’s just too little ofWhat the world needs now is love, sweet love,No not just for some but for everyone.Lord, we don’t need another mountain,There are mountains and hillsides enough to climbThere are oceans and rivers enough to cross,Enough to last till the end of time.Lord, we don’t need another meadowThere are cornfields and wheat fields enough to growThere are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shineOh listen, lord, if you want to know.No, not just for some, oh, but just for everyone
My dear friends and readers what the world needs now is in fact LOVE and we must never forget GOD IS LOVE! What we must also never forget is that God calls you and I to deliver that love to the world through the message of Jesus Christ. Let’s open the Bible at a few verses taken from 1 John 4:7-21 to see what he has to say about this:
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.”
“God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.”
“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
Now let me share my opinion on what the world does not need more of. It does not need more self-righteous Christians who intentionally or unintentionally spew words of hate towards others. We all know the phrase “love the sinner but hate the sin”, but often our words and actions towards others when pointing out their sinful ways ring out in tones of hate rather than Christ like love.
We know that God is love and that He calls us to share that love with everyone. Now allow me to bring Pope Frances into this discussion. He has recently made several remarks during his relatively short time as Pope that seem to have sparked some controversy. Is he going against the Bible? Is he softening the teachings of the church towards some of the important issues like abortion, homosexuality or gay marriage or instead, is he just restating the words from John that we read above and re-singing the words of this popular song—what the world needs now is love sweet love? Let’s read some of his quotes:
“The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all.”
“This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity,”
“We must always consider the person. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.”
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible,” he said. “The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”
“The Catholic Church must be like a ‘field hospital after battle,’ healing the wounds of its faithful and going out to find those who have been hurt, excluded or have fallen away.”
By pointing out a mistake I recently made, let me give you an example of what not to do. Before doing so I need to give you some background information. Let me state first that I stand firmly against abortion. I was adopted at birth by loving parents. I have no information about my biological parents. I know that in 1957 some woman gave birth to me in a farm house in Ohio and that by the grace of God, this biological mother of mine, who I do not know, chose to place me up for adoption rather than to abort me as an unwanted pregnancy. So you can see why I have strong views on this subject. Now, here was my mistake.
I was in a conversation with a dear friend of mine who is pro-choice. In a casual conversation on the subject of abortion, I stated my case firmly against abortion. I even stated my personal belief that abortion should not even be allowed in cases of rape or incest. For all I know I could have been the product of either. I have no idea. All I know is my mother chose life. (Read more about the 32,000 rape related pregnancies per year by clicking here). So I made my emphatic heart felt statement. I said “there is never a reason ……never….ever… where abortion is okay!”
Yes, I dogmatically stated my disdain for abortion but then my friend had this to say to me: “Brian I have never told you this story but my wife and I were faced with a very difficult decision.” He went on to tell me that years ago his wife had been in the last months of a pregnancy when the doctors told them the tragic news that the fetus had a serious medical condition. The doctor told them that their baby had zero chance of survival…..zero!! Then this doctor went on to present my friend with this difficult decision. He told them that if they did not abort this child his wife was going to die. Wow, there they were confronted with the horrible choice of choosing to abort a baby who had zero chance of living or allowing his wife to die. They choose to abort.
Why do I tell you that? Why do I so willingly admit I was a jerk that day with my words to my friend? My dogmatic statement against abortion came off my lips as judgmental. What I said hurt my friend. Does this mean I should change my view on abortion? No it does not. It just means I should approach any discussion on this topic in a more loving, understanding, caring and Christ-like way.
I have several devout Christian friends whose sons or daughters have chosen to live out their same sex attraction by accepting the gay lifestyle. They have told me sad stories of how Christian friends of theirs have said terribly hurtful things to them because of their children’s lifestyle.
Now let me ask you this. When you are in discussions with others about some of the important topics of our time; abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, birth control, euthanasia, illegal aliens and other issues, do your words depict the love of Christ? Are you guilty, like I was, of hating a sin so much that your words or actions essentially convey disdain or hurt towards the sinner rather than the sin?
Pope Francis was not softening the church’s stance on these issues. No, he was putting the emphasis squarely on the Gospel message of mercy and love. I learned my lesson the hard way. I hurt my friend. Don’t you do the same thing! Thank God my friend forgave me.
My friends the lesson is simple: If we encounter someone who appears to be living outside of what we believe to be God’s law, we don’t need to PREACH them back to Christ as much as we need to LOVE them back to Christ. Then when they experience us treating them with the love of Christ they will be more inclined to listen to more of Christ’s message. If someone first encounters condemnation from us for the life decisions they have made, they are not inclined to care about anything else you or I have to say. It is this simple, what the world needs now is Love sweet love it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.
Heavenly Father, please teach me to love like you. Amen.