Are we loving others well? In my own life I’ve experienced a wide range of Christians that love well and others that don’t. Sometimes unbelievers can love others better than the Christians around us. Its sad. 1 Corinthians 13 provides an outline of how to love. However I wanted to start out with situations I’ve encountered in my own life because it’s what we should put off. We put off the unloving actions, thoughts, attitudes, renew our mind, conform more to the love that only God can give us. Once we know what to put off, we can renew our minds and put on the love of Christ.
Put Off unloving actions.
-People have cliques. They want to stick to their group and talk to no one else. Relationships are good. Best friends are great. But we need to be talking to people who come across our path. The homeless person. The person with no friends. The socially awkward person. The person that doesn’t have anything to offer us. People are relational beings. They need our friendship and sometimes just someone to talk to. Love is sacrificial and we won’t always want to talk to these people. What kind of love do we have if we only love those that we get a benefit from? It’s healthy to reach out to those who are outside our age range as we do life together. I’m not saying be good friends with them, but we can get to know those around us who don’t exactly fit the mold. We choose our friends and who to do life with but we also choose who to love as we cross paths with the people around us. And that’s all I’m saying. Love those who you cross paths with. Love them well and learn from them.
Assuming People’s heart motivations, intentions
-Most people are guilty of this. I’ve been guilty of this. It’s funny that the people who know you the least end up assuming the worst of you. Assuming the worst is a catalyst for gossip and brings about a tense environment. We need to be encouraging people toward love and good deeds, assuming the best of them. Ultimately, its the Word that judges the thoughts and intents of the heart. We need to get back to a unity that is centered on the Gospel, encouraging each other toward our calling of love and good deeds as a witness to the world. Most of the time we don’t know people’s hearts. And we may never know. But we will all give an account one day and in the mean time we are called to love well.
Wanting to control people’s lives
-I’ve seen friendships torn over this. People disagree with someone’s actions and the friendship becomes torn. The actions aren’t even sin. People don’t want to hang out with certain people because of x, y, and z. There is a lack of forgiveness in the heart. Because of the above, they don’t want them at church or will avoid them. It seems immature. And it is. But I’ve seen it happen so I’m bringing it up. We can’t control what people do. But we can encourage them toward love and good deeds and be happy that they are at church. Everyone needs to be at church. Unbelievers need to be at church so they can hear the only message that gives them hope. Believers need to be at church for edification and learning how to live their life by the Word of God. The list goes on. There are many more situations. But its helpful to think of things not to do so we can more fully embrace what we should do.
Loving as a way of life.
God is love. Christians are called to love. Loving God is a mark of a true believer. Sometimes I don’t do it well. But we strive to drink from the pure milk of the word and become mature in our faith and love others well. Time is of the essence. We don’t become mature over night. It’s a process of continual examination, and being directed by the Word of God. And it’s practice as a way of life. It’s like anything else. As we continually practice loving others well, we become someone who loves as a way of life. It’s becomes what we are known for. It becomes who we are. It’s what Christians do. It’s the love of Christ emulated.