Meanderings of a Minister

Loving God Enough to Love Others
September 19, 2010, 1:27 am
Filed under: Articles

Have you ever thought of the Bible’s commands to love another as an act of loving God?  1 John 5:3 says that the love of God is shown in how we obey Him.  He commands us to love another in many verses throughout the Bible.  So; therefore, to love one another is to love and to do so well is to love God enough to love others.

A wise man once said, “You only love God as much as you love others the least.”  This may sound profound, but what does it mean?  Well, first it means that whenever you love others, you are loving God.  Jesus said whatever you have done to least of these, you have done unto Him.  (Matthew 25:45)  Second, it means that the amount and level of love you show others is a reflection of how much you love God.

Have you ever thought of loving God as loving others?  Surely you have, if you are married.  There are times in every marriage when you think about being selfish and insisting on your own way.  The reason that you choose to do what the other needs in your marriage is your concern for their well-being, but also for the benefit of having a solid relationship with little friction.  For those of us believers, we think about serving and loving our spouses as following Christ’s example of leading by loving.  God commands it.  Jesus exemplified it.  We follow it.  But why?  Because we love the other person and because we love God and want to keep our covenant of marriage.

This is easy to see in those close relationships we enjoy, but what about strangers?  Even better yet, what about enemies?  Jesus said to bless those who curse you.  How can you do this?  You can’t, but Christ can through you.  The same One Who said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”  He said this about the very ones nailing Him to the cross.  He can and will help you to do this.  It is His nature because He is God the Son and God is love (1 John 4).  The questions remains whether or not you will obey Him and carry this through.

As you think about these concepts, who comes to mind?  An old enemy from High School?  An ex-husband that abused you?  An ex-wife that cheated on you?  A stranger that molested you?  A teacher that failed you?  A brother or sister that left you?  How do we love that person, even after they have done us wrong and terrible wrong at that?  First, forgive.  Forgive as Christ has forgiven you.  You might not think they are worthy, but neither were you.  You might not think they have changed, but neither had you.  You might think they will simply do it again, so have you.  Forgive in the sense of giving up your right to revenge.  That does not mean giving up justice if they committed a crime against you.  Only God can direct you there.  It means giving up the desire to see them hurt like they hurt you.

After forgiving them, next, pray for them.  Don’t pray about them.  Pray for them.  Don’t ask God for vengeance, but ask for Him to work in their lives.  Ask for them to be blessed.  Ask for them to be changed.  Having forgiven them, and beginning to pray for them, watch what God will do to help you actually love them.  Then, in loving them, you will be loving God, Who is certainly worthy of our love and devotion.  Who knows?  You just might be more blessed than they are.


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