“Do this – love others.” Sounds easy enough. So, why is it so hard?
We know that we are commanded to love others, but many things can make it harder than it should be:
– Different perspectives and disagreements
– Pain and disappointment
– Hurt feelings
– Wolves in sheep clothing
Here’s the bottom line regardless of the injustices that come with people and situations – we are called to love others. The command we’ve been given is very clear.
While we would like to believe this command makes exceptions with certain people or in particular situations; it doesn’t. I think some people truly love everyone they meet. I also believe there is a foundation upon which these people stand, and an understanding that they have.
The Foundation of Loving Everyone is Jesus
Jesus was treated to all the issues I listed above that would make it hard to love others. He demonstrated the truth that we can fulfill the command of loving others in spite of these issues.
When you love God, you desire to please him and follow his commands above all else, you will have the foundation for that is needed for loving others; even in the toughest of times. God can always move your heart to love if you are willing to let Him.
The Understanding of Loving Everyone
Many people think of love one of two ways: intimacy, as in making love, and as allowance. Allowance meaning that most things are okay. If your spouse chooses not to help you around the house, you have to be okay with that (at least on some level), or he might think you don’t love him.
The command that we’ve been given, to love, is to love through the eyes of Christ. When you step back and consider how God see’s people, you can realize that he sees them as they are.
All their faults; nothing is hidden. God’s desire is that every person would come to know Him and accept the unconditional love He has for them.
To live out to the command of loving others, we too need to see that everyone, including ourselves, has faults. We are all sinners. We all hurt others. We also need to desire that every person would come to know Jesus and accept His offer of the greatest love ever known.
When these things live in your heart, you will still run into people that you will never be best friends with, but you see them differently. Even when they hurt you, your heart is changed in such a way that the command to love others is fulfilled.
You can pray for the other person. Your desire to retaliate or speak poorly about them is gone.
Most of us have people in our lives that challenge us from a relationship perspective. Do yourself a favor and pray to love them as Jesus does. I can tell you first hand that it makes all the difference in the world. The freedom that does along with this, and the resulting peace, is a necessary place to be.
Loving Others When the Pain is Constant
I mentioned in last week’s article that it is a greater act of love to say, “I love you too much to take part in your hurtful behaviors.” There are no set rules for responses or actions when another person continues to hurt you. Everyone has to live with themselves in what steps to take.
The Bible is filled with scripture that helps us be strong, courageous, filled with faith and being loved. Nowhere does it say to allow whatever someone wants to throw at you.
When a person continually chooses to do things that are hurtful/harmful, it is not an act of love to help them continue down that road. I see this very often in addiction situations. The people who love the addict believe they love them by giving them food, money, a car, a place to live.
The situation can often be that the addict threatens consequences if the person doesn’t help them. Or, people feel the addict will die if they are out on the streets. Fear and guilt drive them to provide even though they are uncomfortable with it.
The easy answer is to say that the addict has to come to the end of themselves. As true as this is, there is nothing easy about it. It is also true that as hard as it is, it is loving the addict more not to provide for them. Provisions help them continue to kill themselves.
Addiction may not be the issue. There are tons of dysfunctional hurtful/harmful behaviors. The truth remains that loving the person is to love them through the heart of Jesus. And, in doing so, that means doing all you can to help them know and desire Jesus. Providing the means that helps them continue in a way of life that takes them further away from Jesus is not where you want to be.
Here is a helpful article on “Loving Others” at the Christian Broadcast Network.
If you need help in this area of loving of others, I would be honored to assist you. Matters of the heart are complicated.
Forgiveness, trust, bitterness, resentments and more can clog the way to loving others as you are commanded. If you need help in this area, I hope you will reach out and get it.
We’ve reached the end of this article series: REAL Relationships
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