All relationships must be “grounded and rooted in love,” Robbie Earle told students during an Erskine chapel service October 15. Earle, lead pastor of Legacy City Church in Greenwood, encouraged students to love their neighbors.
“Who are our neighbors?” he asked. “Anyone God puts in our path. How do we love them? We have compassion.”
Earle urged his listeners to reject the cultural trend toward animosity and hatred, especially as it is often expressed on social media. Instead, we must embrace Jesus’ well-known summary of the law: “love the Lord your God…” and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37, 39).
The two greatest commandments cannot be separated, Earle said. “If you love God, then you must love people…We cannot profess to love the God of all creation without also loving His greatest creation.”
As an example of neighborly love, the pastor read Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, in which a man is robbed and left for dead. In the parable, a Levite and a priest refuse to help the injured man while a Samaritan stops to take care of him. Earle noted that both the priest and the Levite, as religious leaders of their day, should have assisted the man, but they failed to show compassion. Similarly, we may be tempted to ignore others, especially when we let fear, lack of time, laziness, or apathy stand in our way. Instead, we should put aside such hindrances and show compassion for others, as the Samaritan did.
While practical acts of kindness are critical, Earle stressed the importance of the heart as well, referring to 1 Corinthians 13, which warns, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal…I am nothing” (v. 1, 2). Without the love of Christ, Earle said, all our actions are useless.
Ultimately, it is Christ who perfectly demonstrated love when he laid down his life on the cross. This “absolutely remarkable, unbelievable love” should motivate believers to heartfelt action, Earle said.
“It is under that banner, that covering, that blood of Christ” that we are brought together to love one another and “to put others’ needs above ourselves.”
Pictured above are Pastor Robbie Earle, right, with Interim Chaplain Josh Chiles.