Tuesday, September 9, 2014

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Others

A few months ago, our ladies’ Bible study group watched Beth Moore’s “Loving Well” on DVD. It was a message I definitely needed! I feel like when I was younger, it came really naturally to just love everyone! Even  through high school I genuinely liked everybody. I don’t know if my high school was unique, but for the most part, everyone seemed to get along. It was very diverse, and there were definitely some different groups and cliques, but everyone was generally pretty accepting of one another and friendly. I am so thankful for that experience! It was not until college that I experienced “mean girls” for the first time. College was the first time I can ever remember feeling like I had ‘an enemy’ and someone I just really DID NOT LIKE.

I struggled with my walk in college. I wanted to serve the Lord and be an example, but I did not always do that.  Looking back, I wish North Georgia would have had an FCA ministry or a Bible Study amongst our athletes. But even still, my walk was MY responsibility. Ultimately, the relationship was still there, but I did not always produce the fruits. I went to church periodically, usually by myself or with a few teammates (if we didn’t have games). That lack of effort on my part and a lack of mentorship meant that I did not always make the best choices, and I regret that because I know I missed some big opportunities to show others Christ. There were times I especially did not “love well.” I made some really stupid decisions that I regret so deeply…

John 13:34-35 states it so clearly…“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Y’all, it is THAT SIMPLE. Does that not pierce your heart like it does mine?!?  People will know if we are truly His disciples by how we love others!! Not by our words…not by how many church services or Bible studies we attend...not by how many verses we put on our FB…not by our claims to be “religious”…not by how much we give or the ministries we serve in or mission trips we go on…not by what our parents or grandparents have done…but simply, by how we LOVE others. That is the fruit people are looking to see in us.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE.”–1 Corinthians 13:13 I don’t see any stipulations in these verses. To only love people who love you, who treat you well, who believe the same things you do, who act or look or think like you. NOPE….just LOVE.

John 15:5 says "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” As much as we want to try, we cannot love others in our own will. It has the be Christ through us!! Sure, we can love others without Christ. Some people are easy to love (especially if they love us!). But some people make it a littttttttle bit more of a challenge. Y’all feel me? When someone wrongs you; or even worse, hurts someone you love; when someone talks about you behind your back; when someone says untrue things about you; when someone attacks you; when someone does HORRIFIC things (like some of the things we hear in the news); … I don’t know about you, but my fleshly response is NOT to LOVE that person. (Let’s be real….my worldly response is to karate chop them in the throat.) And Christians are sometimes the quickest to condemn, despite the fact that the Bible tells us “there is no condemnation in Christ.” What kind of example are we setting for the rest of the world in grace? in mercy? and in LOVE??

Scripture has called us to respond differently…

Matthew 5:39 says “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”  We are not to gossip about it. We are not to get mad at that person or pout about it. We are not to dwell on it. We are to ask for forgiveness, to forgive, and to give it to God. To LOVE them. That does not mean we have to have a relationship, but we are to be cordial…

AND, even more than that, we are called to PRAY for that person!!! Matthew 5:44 says “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Sounds impossible, right? It is, if we try to do it on our own. Matthew 19:26 says Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

I have found that when someone tries to hurt you, its usually because they are hurting. Hurt people hurt people.  When someone lacks peace in their own life, they want others to suffer as well. Misery loves company, right? And sometimes it’s just pure jealousy. (Sad, but true. People attack when they are jealous.) Perspective helps when you’re trying to open your heart to LOVE others. I know that shifting a bitter, angry heart to one of compassion and mercy is the quickest way for me to “put on Christ” and love someone.

Again, loving someone does not mean you have to be BFF with everybody. The Bible doesn’t say anything about liking everyone. But if we are made in the image of Christ, and our ultimate responsibility as believers is to bring Him glory and make an impact for eternity, then we have to LOVE others like Jesus. This pretty much sums it up for me how HE loves…

Are you loving well??

2 comments:

xabz Mukuba said...

its great to really learn about love and what it truly is.

Lindsey @SimplyLindsey said...

Such a great post! It's extremely difficult to be loving to those who have hurt you or who don't like you. But, we are called to do so! So often we brainstorm for hours about the perfect way to bring people to Christ (invite them to church, Bible study, over to dinner, mission trips, etc.), but sometimes what we think of as the "simple solution" of just loving them is what we need to do!