“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
The Bible is full of specific instruction on how we should treat each other. But nowhere does it talk about forcing other people to do our will. Nowhere does it talk about controlling one another. Rather it takes lot about love; it includes loving our enemies and persecutors (Matthew 5: 43-48) and loving without expectation of receiving love in return (Luke 6: 27-36). But the most challenging call to love is the great commandment to love God with all of our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22: 34-40).
To truly love, we must first know God. Love starts with God and ends with God because God is love. We see this in 1 John 4: 7-8 when he writes: “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” All God does is out of love. He loves perfectly. Our goal is to love as God loves. Love isn’t something that is derived from within us. It is radical. For the kind of love that God calls us to – the love that loves our neighbor as much as we love ourselves – must come from Him. This command to love is important. It is not something to take nonchalantly; if you feel like loving, then love. We are required to demonstrate a genuine love regardless of how we feel about a situation or a person.This means putting others above ourselves, our perceived needs, and our wants. That includes people who are trying to control or influence us as well as the people who support us on a daily basis.
Imagine for a second if they did a “most interesting man in the world” commercial on Christian love. It would go something like this: “I don’t always want to love, but when I do, I love as Jesus loves. I thank Jesus who died on the cross for my half-hearted love. He loved perfectly in my place. Grow thirsty for loving others.”
- What does it mean to you when the Bible says love others?
- What can we do this week to be better at loving others?