Give me a word, Lord: LOVING OTHERS

John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Romans 12:9-20 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. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

If you turn on the news or even take a look at social media, you will see an occasional act of love and kindness, but more often than not you will see a lot of hate, people who are angry and acting out on that anger, people who are spewing words of hate rather than showing acts of love, and people just being plain old ugly. If we aren’t careful, we will get all caught up in that anger and hate, and before we know it, we are leading an army of angry people who seem to support our cause. Whoa there Peeps! We have to stop this! We have to stop right now! Why? Because when we react to situations with anger and hate we are not loving like Christ loves, and those who are not Christians are watching and seeing the example we are setting.

Wait a minute. Isn’t there a scripture about Jesus getting angry and turning over tables? (Matthew 21:12-13) It’s okay to get angry sometimes right? Yes, but in this scripture, Jesus was pointing to Himself and His coming death and resurrection. When we get angry, we must be careful that in our anger we aren’t pointing people away from Christ.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I have never been angry. Oh, have I been angry! Have I said things I later regretted? Yep, more times than I want to admit! I’m human. I mess up. I’m still a work in progress. The thing is though that as a follower of Christ, when I do these things, the Holy Spirit gently nudges me and let’s me know that once again I messed up. I realize that I messed up, and then I realize that I need to get things right. I need to apologize to the person or people who I’ve offended and show love. I ask for forgiveness.

One of my biggest fears is that my stupid, selfish actions would lead someone away from Christ. People are watching our behavior. They watch to see how we are going to handle bad situations. They watch to see how we react. As christians, we are expected to behave at a higher standard. We are expected to show the love of Christ no matter what we are going through. Why? Because Christ loved us enough to die on the cross for our sins and rise again so that we may have everlasting life. That is true love my friends.

So even though it’s hard, we have to daily strive to love like Jesus loves. Feed the hungry. Peeps, we always have food at our house! When someone is sad, cry with them. When someone rejoices, rejoice with them. We have to learn to live in harmony with one another. If you mess up, and you will, make it right. Make amends.

If I speak out in a way that seems very unChristlike or unloving, people are quick to associate my statements to my relationship with Christ, and they may even further associate the things I said to my family or my church family, and maybe, just maybe, I just steered someone away from Christ or visiting church because of my big mouth. Doing this would devastate me. I know I’m not perfect. I’m just a sinner saved by grace. If I have spoken in offense, I beg forgiveness.

I want to love like Jesus loves. I love you Peeps! If I have offended in the past, please know that I am sorry. As Christians, we are like toddlers learning to walk. With each passing day, we get better at walking with Christ. We learn from our mistakes and our love grows stronger for Christ and others. He said love others like we love Him. He didn’t say just love the ones that love you. He didn’t say just love the ones that act like you. He said love ’em all! We have to love everybody. Do it!

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