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1 John 4:19 NLT
“We love each other because he loved us first.”
Let’s be honest – sometimes people are difficult to love. People are messy. Frustrating. At times even hurtful and damaging.
They can hurt us, misunderstand us and betray us. Jesus knows all that and yet still says, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:35a) So why is he commanding me to love? Because he says, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35b). Our loving posture, not our opinions-and-politics posture – that’s what will tell people who don’t know God that there is unusual love and power deep inside us.
This is tough since the norm in our broken world is offence, cancelling, and vengeance. Yet we as Jesus-followers are called to be different. Very different.
He loved us first, before we loved him. He still loves us first even when we are messy and frustrating, even when we are hurting and betraying others. He keeps on loving us and though we don’t deserve it, “if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1John 1:9) That’s why we are to extend that same love to others. Maybe you feel like they don’t deserve it. Well, neither do we. He loved us first. He forgives us when we mess up.
Loving others. That’s definitely difficult at times, especially someone who has hurt us. Maybe that’s why he also says this, ”But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:44) Really, Jesus? Even that person?
Yes, even that person.
Today, pray for someone you find difficult to love. Ask God to help you see them the way he sees them and to love them in a tangible way.