We also see the love theme stressed in Matthew's gospel account. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be soons of your Father who is in heaven .... For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? ... Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."2
Love is the much talked-about teaching of the church. So important is love in God's scheme of things that in John's writings to the seven churches of the apocalypse,3 he warns the church of Ephesus, "I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place - unless you repent."
This theme continues in his message to Pergamum and Thyatira, whom he castigates for putting up with people who lead some astray. The main motivation for not putting up with those false teachings is that the believer's love for God and for the other believers would be destroyed by following them.
Matthew also records similar warnings: "If you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions," appears after the Lord's prayer.4
And in the parable of the unmerciful servant, Jesus pictures the displeasure of the slaveowner who forgave his servant a mega-sized debt, only to have that servant show no mercy to a man who owed him a very small amount. The slaveowner then reversed his former decree of forgiveness. 5
Obviously, this is serious stuff. And I don't want to be guilty of using scare tactics. There is something very beautiful about the believer (and the church) that is truly filled with God's love. But love is also such a problem that there have been significant attempts to write theology that allows us to be less than perfect (that is, complete) in this area.
What is the remedy for lack of love? As we read earlier, Jesus told the church at Ephesus, "repent and do ..."
If God wants you to go further, perhaps by confessing your lack of forgiveness to the other person, he will impress it strongly upon your heart, AND he will give you the strength to do it.
Genuine love: that's God's plan for man.