“If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.”
We enjoy sharing and expressing love with those who love us. However, it’s difficult to continue to love someone who doesn’t love us back in the same way. And it is often the most difficult task to love those who are unkind, defiant, or have hurt us in great ways. Yet, we have been called to love, be merciful, and even to forgive, even when it hurts us to do so ….
In our natural state, we can’t do this; yet, in the Spirit of Christ; this is entirely possible based on (1 Corinthians 13). What does it look like to love when it hurts?
Love is patient ….. when others continually cause hurt with their words and actions ….
Love is kind ..… when the opportunity opens up for us to be a blessing or encouragement, instead of stewing in bitterness ….
Love is not jealous .… when others around us are more blessed in areas that perhaps we are not ….
Love does not brag .… when something good happens to come our way unexpectedly …..
Love is not arrogant ..… when God has abundantly blessed us through His grace ….
Love does not act unbecomingly ..… when we are tempted to act dishonorably …..
Love does not ever seek its own … meaning when we resist looking at a situation only in light of how it affects us ….
Love is not provoked ..… when our anger is rising and we calm down in the Lord through prayer at His feet ….
Love does not hold grudges or take in account a wrong suffered …. when we continue to forgive and remember how we are forgiven by our Father in heaven …..
Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness .… when we reflect on the horrible price Jesus paid for our sins ….
Love always rejoices with the truth …. when we rejoice in the truth that hurts and heals just as much as any other truth ….
Love bears all things ..… when we cover the weaknesses and faults of other with our silence and prayers ….
Love believes all things ..… when we are willing to have faith in others and believe the best in them ….
Love hopes all things ….. when we never stop expecting that God is working all things for our good, even in the bad things ….
Love endures all things .… when we are willing to be a fortitude of love in spite of controversy, sorrows and mistrust …
Love never fails .…. when we transfer the unconditional, agape love of God to others who don’t deserve it ….
This is what we have received by grace, because of grace: unmerited and undeserved mercy and forgiveness and because He loves us so very much, so much that it hurt. Love covers a multitude of sins.
Therefore, remember: we harvest what we plant. And certainly, we reap what we sow. Love till it hurts. Bear each other’s burdens, love your enemies, bless those who persecute you, hurt you, despitefully use you or say all manner of evil or lies against you. If we extend mercy — we shall receive it for ourselves. In like manner; if we forgive, even the most unforgivable atrocities — we shall be forgiven and receive pardon of our own failings, which we all have in some degree or another ….
As it is written ….
“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” (Galatians 6:1-3).
Remember the Beatitudes:
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”
(Matthew 5:3-12) NLT
Let your light shine with Christ’s love to everyone, that they may see and He may be glorified ….
Let us pray ~
Dear heavenly Father, thank You for Your deep love towards me and thank You for sending Your only begotten Son, to suffer on the cross for my sake, so that my sins could be forgiven and that I may live with You forever in heaven. Lord I know that I do not warrant Your love and yet You have showered unconditional love and grace towards me through Christ – for which I praise and thank You. I know that You desire all Your children to love each other. Fill me I pray, with the love of Christ that I may love others in the same way that Christ loved me, that as Your love pours into my soul, so I may be used as a conduit for Christ’s love to stream out to others with whom I come into contact.
Help me to demonstrate Your love not only to those that are lovable, but also to those that who lash out at me through pain or anger, disappointment or loss. May the love of Jesus be manifested in me and may the love of Jesus be distributed, by grace through faith; to all with whom I come in contact and that I may show compassion on those who live in my neighbourhood. Father I know that I need Your love and Your patience in this area as I have some quite difficult neighbours who are causing some problems. Lord change my heart to a heart that loves as You loved. Change my attitude to look with compassion on all those who would harm me rather than with irritation of distain. Help me to view them as You do; dead in their trespasses and sins, estranged from God and in need of a Saviour. Lord help me to take each negative thought that I have about them captive the moment that it arises in my heart, for I know that this is pleasing to You and I know that this is what You desire of all Your children. Create in me a heart of gentle love and kind compassion and show me how I may witness of Your love; both with my actions as well as my words. Keep me from a self-righteousness attitude towards them for I know that I too was once estranged from You, and yet in Your grace and mercy, You picked me up and saved me even while I was wretched, blind, and undeserving. Father I pray that each one may come to a saving faith in You and that You would change me to be the neighbour, friend, and witness that You would have me be. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen ….