The bible tells us to do everything with love (1 Corinthians 16:14), but I will be the first to raise both my hands and say I fail at this a lot.
I don’t always feel like loving people….especially ones who do me wrong or have done me wrong time and time again.
Or when I don’t feel good.
Or when I’m tired of people’s stuff.
Or when I feel justified in not.
Or a whole host of other reasons.
But, you know what I’ve figured out through the years?
We should love them anyway.
I am thankful God’s love for me isn’t based on temporary emotions and that He doesn’t only love me when I’ve been good or “deserve” it.
Most of those people don’t have Jesus, and I do.
That doesn’t make me perfect at all, but it does mean I should be walking a little more selflessly.
If Jesus can turn the other cheek, who are we to be like, “nawwww….Imma fight them or give them a taste of their own medicine!” “They ain’t fixing to keep doing me like that!” “Let me at ’em!”
Seriously. I’ve said it all too at times and then later I feel convicted and have to ask Jesus to forgive me for thinking such things. Okay, truth. I usually spout it all out at my husband when I’m frustrated about situations. Bless him.
Now, that’s not to say we won’t still get mad and mess up.
But Jesus loved even those that did Him wrong.
He forgave them.
He still died for them and us.
Did you also know that love…real love…keep no records of wrongdoings?
It is patient.
It is kind.
It doesn’t envy.
It doesn’t boast.
It isn’t proud.
It doesn’t dishonor others.
It isn’t self-seeking.
It isn’t easily angered.
It doesn’t delight in evil.
It rejoices in the truth.
It perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13)
When Peter asked how many times we are supposed to forgive people that sin against us, He replied with “seventy times seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22). That’s a whole lot.
Basically, it means there is no limit to forgiveness.
There is no end to God’s grace.
If Jesus can limitlessly forgive us when we mess up, why do we think we don’t have to?
Because the 2nd part of what I figured out is that I’m not loving them with my love because my love is not always present.
I’m loving them with Jesus’s love.
There’s a BIG difference.
God doesn’t look at us and decide if we are worthy enough before He showers us with His love.
We are made worthy through His love.
He doesn’t look at the people on the street and say, “yeah, but do they really need help?”
He just helps.
He just loves.
He just does.
Yes, you can still listen to His voice because there may be times He tells you not to go places or do things or to help someone different.
Yes, you can stand up for what’s right.
Say what you feel you need to say based on what you hear the Lord whispering in your heart.
Learn to turn the other cheek. Ouch. That’s hard. Our flesh wants to rise up and say, “nope. not happening.”
We are also supposed to have the attitude of Christ (Philippians 2).
If we really put on the mind of Christ every day and asked ourselves, “What would Jesus do in this situation?” Imagine the difference it would make.
Yeah, I know. I’m stomping on my own toes this morning.
It doesn’t mean you have to be BFFs with them, or that you cannot speak the truth to them….in love. Even Jesus encountered people and places that didn’t accept Him so He shook the dust off His feet and moved on.
Trust me…I’m still learning all of this and trying to apply it to my life too.
And remember, it isn’t through you or by you…it is through Him.
Everything we do and say as Christians points back to Jesus and God….but is it pointing positively or negatively?
I know. I feel it too.
There’s a stirring.
We may think people don’t want to hear the truth, but they do. People are searching for it. Just look around you and you will see it.
They’re searching for answers and belonging and purpose and identity and peace.
And I probably should go ahead and buckle up now because I can promise you I’m fixing to be tested in this because I just put it out there.