Love. Lately I haven’t been able to get this subject off of my mind. I have been overwhelmed with the realization of how great God’s love is for us, his children. And likewise, I have been filled with a desire to truly love like He does.
I’ve always thought that I’ve been pretty good at loving others, even people who I don’t know. If there is one thing that I feel like I am gifted at, it is loving people. I don’t say this in a prideful way, I have never been perfect at it by any means, but I recognize it as one of my strengths. I know the 5 Love Languages like the back of my hand, and I am almost fluent in all of them (I blame my parents for this). I find great joy in making other people feel loved.
But there is still SO much I have to learn about loving others well. And lately, God has been challenging me in this even more.
It is pretty easy to love most people. But throughout my life, there have been a few who I must say, have been more difficult. I’m sure you can relate. That person who rejects you, who says mean things about you, who hurts you and those close to you, who doesn’t love you in return, and who may straight up bully or persecute you. Those people…are a little harder to love. Sometimes it feels near impossible.
But we still need to love them. Here’s why…
“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” – 1 John 4:20-21
If we truly love God, we must love other people…all people. When this passage says “brother,” it’s not just talking about the brother in our immediate family…it’s talking about all people. Even the mean ones.
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, here’s what he said:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Matthew 22:37-39
As followers of Christ, loving other people is not optional. We cannot be true followers of Jesus if we do not love other people, and we cannot pick and choose which people we are going to love. We are called to love ALL people, as Christ loves us.
Now, it can be rather easy to just say that we love someone (we sometimes use that as a quick fix, “I forgive them! I love them!”), but it’s quite a different story to show it and truly love them in our hearts. In the end, it doesn’t really matter if we say we love someone…what matters is our actions and the content of our hearts.
“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” - 1 John 3:16-18
Let’s make it a priority to show the truth of our love by our actions. This is the only way the world will know that we are true disciples of Jesus.