That person we don’t like–we still better love.
Do we give lip service to God’s command to love each other? Do we rationalize and give ourselves a pass, thinking, “God’ll understand.”
Do we justify how we feel based on what THEY’VE done.
As John Piper has noted, when we stand before Christ, He won’t even allow us one second to spend talking about what others did, it will be our actions (or reactions) that we’ll have to give account for.
Over and over again, God tells us to love each other. He singles out the people who don’t love us, those who are actively working to take us down (our enemies) and even those who actually persecute us as people we need to love.
He says that if we say we love God and hate our brother we’re liars.
Jesus said that next to loving God with all we’ve got, the greatest commandment is loving our neighbor as ourselves. That means putting their needs on par with (or above) our wants.
1 John 3:16 says, “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.”
That doesn’t just mean being willing to risk our lives for others, as many of us may think. We need to give up our pursuit of US and live a life that truly serves and benefits others. We’re no longer living for our comfort, or what Pastor Sean Sears calls, ‘padding our own nest,’ or what tobymac referred to as, “building my kingdom,” but for God’s glory and the good of others.
1 John 3 continues, “18 Dear children, let’s not merely SAY that we love each other; let us SHOW the truth by our actions. 19 Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.”
I think sometimes we convince ourselves that these things don’t really apply to us. We think something like, “God doesn’t expect me to love him.” That’s the enemy, who’s warring against our minds. We know he’s actively pursuing our destruction and we forget that hate and bitterness generally does the trick.
We’d be well served to remember that doing things God’s way isn’t simply a point of obedience just for the sake of obeying, although that’s important, but following His way is also what’s best for us.
Lets not kid ourselves. If we’re not loving others, in the way God describes, we’re not following God.
New International Version (NIV)
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.”