There are three things that will endure- faith, hope and love.
And the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 13
Am I loving my fellow man?
Loving our friends is easy.
Although any relationship requires sacrifice, it is much easier to love someone who is kind, generous, friendly, considerate, thoughtful, respectful and who loves us in return.
But what about loving those who are a little more difficult to love? The ones who don’t really ‘get’ you, who misunderstand you, the ones who disagree with you, take offence, ignore, or don’t treat you like you would like to be treated? Now that is a little bit harder and requires dying to self and relying on God’s strength.
Learning from Jesus
Jesus said in Matthew chapter 5 verses 43–47
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your father in heaven…
Verse 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? Verse 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others?
Jesus is our example, and these words are powerful in an age where it is increasingly about me, myself and I, our rights, our feelings, our self-love, and our wants and desires. Jesus instead says that we are to go the extra mile for our enemies. For if we only love our ‘brethren’ how are we any different from the world?
Jesus had enemies and if we are going to stand for righteousness in this world and for our faith, then we will too. It may be in our wider circles or within our families. We all have people who disagree with us, who don’t like us and are hard to love.
But instead of responding angrily or harshly and defensively, we are called to love. How can we honestly do this with people whom we find challenging to love? I am learning it is not in our own strength!
‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’
2 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 9
Spirit of Wisdom
Now more than ever it is vital we pray for the spirit of wisdom and discernment. We need to know when it is time to speak the truth in love, and when it is time to simply listen.
Just like not everything someone says to you needs a response, not every post online needs a comment, or every video needs a reply. We don’t need to agree with someone to love them. We need to learn to love, without conditions or strings attached. We need to love even if we think the recipient is underserving of our love.
Why? Because Jesus loved us when we least deserved it. We have all been difficult to love at one time or another. He died just as much for the person who is difficult to love, as he died for you and me. And who knows, through loving, really loving our fellow brothers and sisters it may be the one thing that creates a lasting impact on their lives.
What is love?
The biblical definition and way to love is so different from the world’s way of loving. Often quoted at weddings this passage of the bible is the gold standard of what love is and what it is not.
Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
Love does not demand its own way.
Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.
It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians chapter 13 verses 4–8
If we go through this list and replace the word love with our own name, how does that feel? It makes me think a little deeper on how I am going with loving others.
Even when it seems impossible, if we abide in him and his spirit abides in us, this love can become a fruit in our own lives.
But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Galatians chapter 5 verse 22
May love be our highest goal.
Jo Fuller lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast with her husband, son and daughter. Jo is a teacher with an education in journalism and early childhood who loves to spend time with her family and enjoys reading and writing whenever she can.