My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. (1 John 4:7-10)
God is calling us to L O V E one another. Are you good at that?
Sometimes, I am spot on with it. I find myself so filled with love to the point of tears. I have great compassion and patience. I overlook offenses and speak words to encourage and build-up. I invest heavily in the lives of those I love.
But other times… I struggle.
Because the reality is that people are frustrating. Community can be a tricky bird. And the drama of others can overwhelm us.
And in response, there are times we just refuse to love.
We justify by saying certain people are too high-maintenance. They require too much of us, and we just don’t have enough band-width. We aren’t fluent in Whine-ese. They just plain annoy us.
Anyone come to mind?
Yeah… me, too.
And just when we get comfortable in our justification, we run across scripture like this that whacks us upside the head. Bam.
You see, God says love isn’t a feeling. It’s a choice.
And when we choose not to love… it’s revealing.
Why? Because when we decide someone isn’t worth loving, these verses tell us it also means we don’t know… God.
We cannot hate man and know God at the same time. It’s impossible. They cannot co-exist in us.
Now loving doesn’t mean that we become doormats. We don’t have to do whatever is asked of us. It doesn’t mean we become entangled in sin to show our support. We don’t have to agree with all they do. We don’t even have to spend a tremendous amount of time with them.
But we do have to love them.
So how do we do it?
Because of God. He is the source of all love.
Through Jesus. He demonstrated selfless love on the cross.
And with the Holy Spirit. He gives us the power to love, because He lives in us.
Think about it. The world (the Enemy) has distorted what love looks like. It tells us love is defined by a feeling. (If that were true, we’d left our husbands and walked away from motherhood years ago). This selfish mindset tells us to do whatever we can – even if it contradicts our morals – to make another feel loved. Or for us to feel loved.
But God’s definition is the complete opposite. Loving like Christ always involves a choice.
- I choose to love my husband even when I feel low on his list of priorities.
- I choose to love my children regardless of how well they do what I ask of them.
- I choose to love my friends even when they hurt my feelings.
So what if we chose to love each other even when we didn’t feel like it?
What if we purposed to have our lives point others to God by choosing to love the unlovable?
What if we decided to celebrate our similarities rather than allow our differences to divide?
Girls… let’s be known as women who love because He first loved us.