Loving Others: Who?
"And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows." - (1 Thessalonians 3:12 NLT)
Thoughts for Today
We know God wants us to love other people. But which people? The Bible makes it clear.
God wants us to love other Christians. We are all part of God's body. We may not always agree. And that's okay. But sometimes we don't show love to one another. And that's not okay. It is displeasing to God. It disrupts the work he has called us to do. And it's a poor witness to unchurched people. Here is what Jesus said . . .
"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35 NLT)
God specifically tells us to love ministry leaders like pastors, evangelists, and missionaries. Do you remember to pray for them and show them kindnesses? Do you encourage - or judge and criticize. Love is a choice. Are you making the right one?
Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 NLT)
Jesus told us to love our neighbor. So who is that? He made it clear in the parable of the good Samaritan. Anyone who crosses our path is our neighbor.
"'Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 19:19 NLT)
Loving lovable people can be easy, but what about the unlovable? People who have hurt us, taken advantage of us, betrayed us. Jesus told us clearly that yes, we are to love even our enemies.
“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back." (Luke 6:27-30 NLT)
Consider this …
So here is the bottom line. God loves everyone. He loved us before we loved him. When we rejected him. When we didn't deserve it. He loved us enough to die on the cross for us. Our love for others shouldn't be based on whether they deserve it. Whether they return it. We are to love others because God loves us . . . and them. And because we want to love God back by doing what he has called us to do.
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. (1 John 3:16-18 NLT)
Father, forgive me for the times I have failed to show love to others, often because I thought they didn't deserve it. Thank you for loving me even though I don't deserve your love. Help me show that kind of love to everyone. In Jesus' name . . .
These thoughts were drawn from …
Authentic Living in an Artificial World by Dr. Mike Chapman. This 45-minute group study gives understanding about what it means to be real. The facilitator's guide includes reproducible group member study sheets and an audio CD designed to help facilitators prepare for each session. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a study for individuals or couples.
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