Bella Vista Church of Christ



David Bragg



Learning To Love


  Born in New Garden, North Carolina on May 20,1768, Dolley Payne was raised in a large and wealthy Quaker family on a Virginia plantation. After being married for only three years to her first husband, John Todd, a severe outbreak of yellow fever claimed the lives of her husband and youngest son.


  In 1794 Aaron Burr introduced the 26-year-old widow to James Madison (43). They were married four months later. Dolley would become the most popular First Lady, overshadowing all others for decades.


  When the capital city was burned by the British in 1814, Dolley Madison famously rescued a portrait of President George Washington. During her reign over Washington society Mrs. Madison gained a reputation as the quintessential hostess. Henry Clay said of her, "Everybody loves Mrs. Madison," to which Dolley was said to reply, "That's because Mrs. Madison loves everybody."


  Is not that what Jesus wants us to do? "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him,” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ “This is the first and greatest commandment. “And the second is like it:‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22.36-40).


• Jesus states that the identifying mark of faithful Christians was their love for each other. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13.35).


• Paul echoed that the “more excellent way" for believers to live is love. "Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love"  (1Corinthians" 13.13).


• John also called all Christians to prove their claim on eternal life by their love for fellow Christians. "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death" (1 John 3.14).


• And Peter issued the simple command: "Love the brotherhood" "Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king" (1 Pet. 2.17).


  Time and time again inspired writers reassert the need for the Lord's church to show true love: "Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints"... "Let brotherly love continue" (Ephesians 1.15 & Hebrews 13.1). By so doing the unbelieving world may realize that they too might share in a love and God above will recognize and reward us for becoming more like Him. "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love" (1 John 4:8).


—David Bragg

    Greensboro, NC