I recently had a conversation with a friend who was struggling to love a domineering church member. Another friend, hurt by someone she tried to help in the past, is now hesitant to reach out to others in Christian love. At the same time, I grapple with loving an extended family member who openly expresses animosity towards me.
Maybe you also wrestle with loving those who don't reciprocate. Yet God wants us to. It's his desire that we love the most difficult people in our lives. But how? Christ teaches us to love one another by emulating his actions, not merely by a display of emotions. When we act in love, we are worthy of a reward.
There was a time when I thought I'd be a hypocrite if I showed love to those who I didn't feel very lovingly towards. Then I read Romans 5:8: God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That's not an emotional response to a need; it's an incredible act of love.
It's crucial for us to love like God loves if we are to be witnesses to the lost. 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 (John 13:34-35). That's a directive, not a choice. And it isn't dependent on the object of our love's response.
Thank you, Father, for demonstrating your underserving love for us. Teach me to demonstrate sacrificial love to others and use me to display your love to those who desperately need you. Amen.
Throughout This Day: As difficult as it may be, ask God to give you opportunities to meet needs of those you struggle to love. Then, depend upon him by his Holy Spirit to enable you to meet that need. Regardless of their response, your actions will be worthy of reward. By keeping his commandment, you may see them come to know Christ as Savior or develop a more intimate relationship with him.
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