We live in a world that loves pizza and ice cream but has no idea how to truly love someone that is different from them. Love is tough these days as there is so much hate being spewed from the mouths of politicians and even church people. It seems as though hate is in and love is out, but for the believer in Christ, there is no other choice but to love.
One of the marks of a disciple of Jesus is love. John 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” Sometimes that is a tough assignment!
As you read those two verses, I am certain that is was pretty easy to think about those that are easy to love. They bring life to your soul, they are fun to be around, and they do not suck the life out of you. In most cases, they are like you which makes it even easier to love them. I am also certain that people that are hard to love came to your mind. They drain you, you rarely see eye to eye on anything, and you despise the thought of being around them. In most cases, they are probably different from you, and that makes them even more difficult to love. In both cases, these people are your family members, neighbors and co-workers. Sometimes they are people that we do not know but because they look different or act different, we make a judgement to not give them a chance.
Who in your life right now is hard to love? Make a mental list, or better yet, write their names down somewhere and try to figure out why they are so hard for you to love. Maybe you will find out that you are more of the issue than they are. You see, Jesus was very clear in these verses that a disciple of His loves. They do not pick and choose who they will love. They just love…even when it is difficult. Think about it this way, in your most unlovable moments of life, Jesus never stops loving you. He loves us in spite of ourselves and how we act.
I want to encourage you to do a few things. First, pray for yourself asking God to reveal to you how to love the most challenging people in your life. Second, pray for the names on your list and ask God to help you love them well. Third, get to know someone that you perceive to be different than you. You may find out that they are worth getting to know and that you found a new friend that you can love.
In closing, I am reminded of these words in I John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.” My prayer for us is that our love will identify us clearly as a disciple of Jesus and opportunities would be made available for us to share the love of Jesus this week.