“But love your enemies and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:32-36
In our scripture today, Luke quotes Jesus on the topic of loving others. Loving thy neighbor is a biblical principle and command that even unbelievers have heard and are familiar with. I wonder if sometimes we get so used to hearing a bible teaching that we tune out its meaning and it becomes like “white noise” among all the other messages we are inundated with every day.
Loving others as yourself…Love your enemies…Love your neighbor; we are all so familiar with the mandate but how’s the application going? How’s it going for you? Honestly? We may think it’s good, I love my neighbors; I mean I don’t HATE them. But what about the neighbor who treats his yard like a garbage dump and is lowering the value of your house every day? What about the nosey neighbor who is obsessed with what everyone else is doing?
Neighbor, however, doesn’t just mean those who live next door or in our neighborhood. Neighbor, by definition, means anyone we may have contact with. The fact of the matter is that all of us have people in our lives or that are around us that we may not care for, that rub us the wrong way, or that seem hard to like let alone love.
I think sometimes we settle for less than loving others. We aren’t intentional. We deceive ourselves into thinking if we aren’t fighting or retaliating we get a pass, it’s as good as can be expected but God is the one who sets the standards for loving others, not us. Jesus modeled unconditional love for us. He loved those that didn’t love him in return. He loved me and he loved you when we didn’t love him in return.
God’s word is clear; there are no excuses, as believers and imitators of Christ we are called to be set apart and to love others in a way that does not make sense to the world. We don’t have the power to do this apart from God. We require help from the Holy Spirit. The sooner we can acknowledge and accept that the call to love is not something we are capable of and that it will only happen as we depend on God to do it through us, the sooner our thoughts and attitudes can be changed.
So, if there are no exceptions and we have no excuses, where do we start? How do we do the impossible and truly love those that we don’t truly love?
Get honest- Admit and acknowledge there are people you lack love for.
Humble yourself- Be open and obedient if God calls you to respond to this person(s) in an outwardly loving way.
Personal Prayer Focus
As you take an inward look and evaluate your love for others, invite the Lord to search your heart and reveal to you anyone who you’ve struggled to love. As he brings someone to mind ask him to give you the ability to love that person. To see them through his eyes. If your heart is hard ask him to meet you where you are. Ask him to make you willing to take action if that’s the next step he desires and pray for the power to obey.
West Ridge Church Prayer Focus
Pray for the health, encouragement, and care of our online church community during this season.