No Regrets: Love Deeply

Introduction:

The world needs more love — true, God-inspired love. Love that is undeserved, unmerited and can never be earned. It is hard to believe that we do not have to do something to justify God’s love. How would your view of love change if you had 30 days to live?  Look at what Jesus did when He knew He had only a short time left with His disciples.  John 13:1 says: “Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love.” If you knew you only had a short time left,  you would want to do the same thing. You would want to love deeply. You would say the things you’ve always wanted to say and do the things you’ve always wanted to do. You focus on your relationships and express your love to those closest to you. 

Bottom Line: Work Hard: Love Deep

Something To Talk About:

It sounds real simple, but it’s profound. The reason why you are placed on this earth is to love and you’re never living until you’re loving. Jesus summed it up in Matthew 22:37-39: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  At the end of your life all that will matter is did you love the people in your life. Did you love God with all your heart?  Every thought, response, and act of goodwill must first pass through the filter of love if it is to have value. 

  1. WORK HARD TO ACCEPT THEM: How do we get over the obstacle of misunderstanding? Life is full of misunderstandings. Whether it’s within our family, workplace, church, or community, we’ve all encountered people who rub us the wrong way. As Christians, we try to change people without accepting them. We need to tell them the truth in love, accept them and let God change their behavior. We are called to be patient, genuine and accept them with compassion, empathy, and love for them—even the ones who drive us crazy. It starts by overcoming misunderstandings and bias by acknowledging our own need for Christ’s grace and direction in our lives. Romans 15:7 says, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
  2. WORK HARD TO HELP THEM: Each of us have the natural obstacle called selfishness. We believe we are the center of the universe. A characteristic of love is the desire to help others. Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, a job nobody else wanted to do.  It is not always easy or convenient to help others. Many Christians find it difficult to minister to others because of the obstacles we ourselves have put in the way. We can spend a lot of time trying to think and maneuver our way around obstacles in our own strength. But they only remind us of our weakness and that God is in control. God is never caught off guard by our problems and situations or our selfishness. He uniquely prepares us for the dueling with the obstacles.  Isaiah 12:2 says, “Surely God is my salvation;  I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense he has become my salvation.”
  3. WORK HARD TO FORGIVE THEM:  This is about the obstacle of mistakes. We all make mistakes. There are really two parts to forgiveness: one is our relationship to God; and second, our relationship to the other person. The primary reason we must forgive is because God commands it in Scripture. Mark 11:25-26 tells us, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” It is not always easy and often it takes hard work. Letting go of your hurts and mistakes is often not an overnight experience. It takes time, but as you work toward it you’ll find that it is worth the effort.  Ask God to give you the grace to forgive your mistakes, failures and regrets. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Questions:

  1. Two key words in John 3:16 are love and gave: How do these two words relate to each other in your mind?
  2. What do you view as the obstacles in your life to loving deeply?
  3. How would you compare your love for God with your love for others?
  4. What is keeping you from forgiving others?
  5. What is a way you can show a deep love to someone else this week?
  6. How can you consistently practice loving your neighbors as yourself? 

Take One Thing Home with You

At The Last Supper, Jesus did something simple. He washed their feet. In doing so, Jesus showed His disciples the full extent of His love.

Jesus, with only a towel wrapped around his waist, knelt down at the feet of each of them and washed their feet, drying them with the towel: even the feet of the one who will betray him. This overwhelming gesture made a lasting impression on the disciples, not only because it expressed His love, but by washing their feet, Jesus laid the foundation for true servant leadership. It is the model that we try to emulate today. By example, Jesus was teaching his disciples that those who want to be great in God’s eyes allow themselves to be less in the eyes of man. A true servant leader offers to perform tasks no one else will do. For Jesus, this was certainly not His only display of love or humility or servanthood.

In John 13: 1 we read, “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” That is the nature of Christ’s love, and He showed it repeatedly–even in His death. While He was on the cross, He made sure that John would give Mary a home and care in years to come. He reached out to a dying thief and saved him. It is amazing that in those last hours of pain and suffering, Jesus was conscious of the person hanging next to him. He loves utterly, absolutely, totally, completely, without reservation. At the moment when most people would have been wholly concerned with self, He selflessly humbled Himself to meet the needs of others. That is loving deeply.