“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (Matthew 5:43-47)
In other words, if you only love and show kindness to people who love you, well, Jesus says, you are no different than people who don’t know Christ.
If we are honest, it’s here that we struggle with those who are different from us: those we don’t understand, those who look different, those who are from a different place, those who think different, or act different.
I think most would agree that love is not words, it’s not emotions or feelings, thought it may produce those things. I believe love is seeing a person through God’s eyes and genuinely wanting good for them…as God defines good.
True love comes from a belief that all people were created in the image of God.
True love goes beyond feelings of compassion and good will. Demonstrating true love will cost you something.
Real love feels something, it does something, and it costs something.
As followers of Jesus, the Word of God is always our guide. The very first command to love your neighbor is in the book of Leviticus 19:18 – ““‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.
But how do we do this? How can we love our neighbor as we love ourselves? This will never happen until we see people the way God sees them. We are so quick to judge people and situations. We say things like:
• They deserve what they got
• They brought it on themselves
• If they had made better decisions
• They should have known better.
But we until we see people through God’s eyes we have no true compassion.
Here is something to think about: Our relationship with God is inseparable from our relationships to the people in our lives. We can’t be in a love relationship with God and not act in love towards other people. This is what Jesus calls the greatest commandments: love God, and because you love God – you will love people.
What does God love? Who does God love?
He loves the foster child
He loves the addict trying to find freedom
He loves the lonely
He loves the couple going through a divorce
He loves the woman who has had an abortion
He even loves those who don’t believe in him
Today’s Challenge: Take a small action to show love to someone. Don’t stop with feelings of compassion and pity. Let the Holy Spirit help you identify someone whom you can show love…and do it today.
- Do you have someone in your life who is difficult to love?
- Why did Jesus say love is the distinguishing mark of a Christian?
- What practical steps can you take to be more loving to others?
Recommended Resource: Loving Others: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff
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