When reading the Bible I am often struck by the strong language it can use. in 1 John 4 it actually says that if I claim to love God, but don’t extend the same love to people that I am a liar! Not by my own intention, but by my actions.
As we receive the love of God, the way we see, speak to and treat other people begins to change. It is when I recognize how little I deserve the love, grace, and the salvation given so freely by Jesus that my world view begins to transform. I could never have earned the love that Jesus gives to me, yet He offers it without reserve. Unfortunately, my natural response when loving people is to hold back until they have proven themselves worthy. Should they do something to offend me, I withdraw my affections away. The more I remember God’s love for me, the more I begin to recognize that is the way I should love people.
I have a responsibility to love people the way that God has loved me. When I fail to do so, I reveal that I am not walking in His love, or rather His love is not changing my natural human nature into His supernatural nature.
I shouldn’t wait for a friend or a family member to do something to make them worthy of my love. They are already so, as they are created by God the same as me. When they say something that hurts my feelings, I shouldn’t make them jump through hoops in order to be forgiven, I should offer them the same kind of love that God gave to me.
The way we treat people matters.
Hebrews 6:11-12 shows that if we fail to love others we can become spiritually dull. Love is what our Christian life looks like lived out. When we receive Jesus, we begin to live our lives out of His love. When we stop demonstrating His love, and instead demonstrate selfishness, jealousy, hurtful words, or unforgiveness, we hurt our own relationships with God.
God created us for relationships. We are at our best when surrounded by healthy, thriving relationships. When our relationships are falling apart, we find ourselves struggling, hurt and in need of healing. Starting Monday we will begin diving deeper into the things that can sink our ships and how to avoid them.
THINK ABOUT THIS:
- In what ways has God forgiven you?
- How is the way God loves you affecting how you treat others?
- What does the way you treat people (what you say to them and about them as well your actions) say about your relationship with God?
PRAY: Lord, I am so thankful that you didn’t wait for me to make the first move. You offer me forgiveness and You call me son. Help me to love people the way that You love me.
1 John 4:7-21 (NLT) Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first.
20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.
Hebrews 6:11-12 (NLT) Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.12 Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.
John 15:12 (NLT) This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.