“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:7
Have you ever had that one person in your life that makes you think loving them is impossible? If I were to guess, someone probably just popped into your mind.
When I think of loving others, I think of my family, my closest friends, etc. Who I don’t think about are the people that I find hardest to get along with, or the people I just don’t see eye-to-eye with at all
When the Bible talks about love, how many times have you heard God say, “do not love those who have done wrong to you” or “love only your closest friends and family?” … That’s right, you never have.
As followers of Christ, we are called to much more than loving only those who are easy to love. We are called to love everyone, whether or not they’re our brothers and sisters in Christ, whether or not they’re slow or easy to anger, whether or not they’re forgiving or stubborn… Everyone.
This generation is full of fake love. We say “I love you” to almost anyone, even when how we feel toward them is the furthest away from love.
So, how then do we learn to naturally love others whole heartedly? There are multiple ways to do so, but here are three ways I put into practice daily.
Put others above yourself.
Romans 12:9-10 says, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
Have you ever noticed that one person who is constantly putting themselves last and constantly building others up? Strive to be like them.
When we learn to put others first, our pride and stubbornness disappears. We learn to see things from their perspective and learn to love them gratefully and honestly, just like Jesus did.
Show outstanding love by serving others with no strings attached.
1 John 3:16,18 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters… Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
Anyone can say they’re going to do this and say they’re going to do that, but it takes a true person to put that plan into action.
When we follow through with our actions and learn to serve others with a humble heart, our love for Christ shines through. When we love others with no strings attached, we learn the humility that God felt, shaping us to be more like him.
Work toward peace instead of waiting around for it.
Peace with someone doesn’t always come easily. Ephesians 4:2-3 says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
As followers of Christ, we need to work toward peace. Reach out to forgive others, even when it feels impossible. Swallow your pride and show what it truly means to forgive others as God forgives us.
Now, put your plan into action. What are you going to do differently this week to love others well? I encourage you to work toward peace by loving those in your life who are hardest to love!