I don’t know about you guys, but I am pretty good at loving the people that I want to love. I am good at loving the people that matter to me. At least I like to think that I am good at it. If I am being completely honest, my love can be conditional at times. It is hard for me to love you after you’ve hurt me. It’s hard for me to love you when I feel like I can’t trust you. And that’s just with people that are important with me.
Then there are the people we deem unlovable or difficult to love. Such as the people we just don’t like, they rub us the wrong way and they're just mean. We may attempt to love these people with a grin and bear it mentality but usually inside we have deemed them a lost cause and are hoping they know how they know how lucky they are that we are Christians or we would tell them what was really up with their crappy attitudes and behaviors.
Then there are the ones we are afraid to love. People who are drug addicted, prostitutes, strippers, the homeless and by homeless I mean the ones in the tent city under the bridge downtown or the ones in alleys with flaming trash cans.
People are difficult and they’re messy. Yet we are commanded in scripture to love them. As the church it is our job to reach out and love the unlovely but how can we do this? How can we be more loving to those that matter and those that are difficult?
First and foremost, I think there are a few things you have to know and understand.
1. The Source of Love
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16 ESV
God is the source of love because He is love. God is love and He is for us. His love is constantly being poured out on us.
2. Why we love
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19 ESV
We love because God loved us first. He showed us how. He loved us at our most unloveable moments. He is our example.
3. How to love more.
Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Luke 7:47 ESV
I love this verse. Jesus is at dinner with a group of very religious and unloving people. While they’re all eating a woman with a bad reputation from the city hears that Jesus is there and sneaks into the house through the back door. She finds Jesus and kneels before Him. She begins to clean His feet with expensive oils she brought with her and then she rinses them with her tears as she weeps and wiped them with her hair. This is the most beautiful picture of worship I have ever seen. The religious folks are watching this and they begin to silently judge Jesus for allowing such a woman to touch him. Jesus rebukes them and tells them that she is overflowing with love because she understands that she has been forgiven of many things and they are so dry and unloving because they have no idea how much they have been forgiven of.
Do you feel you could stand to be more loving? Do you wish you had a bigger heart and burden for the lost and hurting? I think a better question to ask is are you currently living with an awareness of how great the love of God is for you? When was the last time you were overwhelmed by how much ugly He has forgiven you for? When was the last time you were awestruck by all the brokenness He’s healed you from?
The key to caring about people more is understanding how much God cares about you and then receiving it. By receiving it I mean first and foremost being born again and accepting Jesus as your savior and then allowing the truth of how loved and forgiven you are to redefine you and the way you think. Changing for the better will likely require repentance. To repent is to change the way you think. As a believer you are empowered to discipline yourself to take control of your thought life and shift any thoughts that are contrary to the truth. You have to meditate on His love and what He’s done for you. You have to get into the Bible with excitement and expectation like it’s a source of God’s love rather than a chore. You have been forgiven. Every sin you’ve committed was placed upon the perfect and sinless Christ, who willing left heaven and signed up for the job and carrying your sin to a cross. Believer you have been forgiven of much now go and love much.
Once you allow the love of God to define and transform your mind, loving people is easy. When we walk with an awareness of how incredibly loved we are even on our ugliest day, it makes it easier to love others. One of my favorite verses to cling to in ministry is 1 Peter 4:8 which says
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
When we are full of God’s love, it will overflow and pour out of us. It changes our attitudes. It takes the focus off of ourselves and our problems and we are given knew eyes. Eyes that once saw our own errors and short comings or our problems and lack, now have these new Love Of God glasses and through them we now see people who need to know what we got!
So stop trying to change who your are or be more something. You cannot manifest any more love, affection or compassion on your own. Instead turn your eyes and hearts back to God, back to the cross, back to the sacrifice of Jesus and back to the love of God. Shift your focus from your faults and concentrate on what He’s done for you and how much He has already made a difference in your life! Focusing on Him will make you better in many ways.
I hope you enjoyed this post. This subject has been brewing in my heart for a while now. If you found any help or encouragement through this subject, would you please share this with your friends? I want this message of love to spread! You can click here to share on Facebook or here to share on Twitter!
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As always I am thankful that you guys choose to read the stuff I write. You guys rock and I hope I help.
Until next time, Love y’all.