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How Do We Love Others?
by Annagail Lynes
5/11/2008 / Christian Living
Why is showing love toward others so important for Christians?
If we want to follow Jesus' example, then we must show love for each other.
However most Christians believe that we have to conjure up love for others on our own.
No, God doesn't require us to love others in own strength. We are to show the love of Christ to others. The love of Christ. Not our own love.
The writer of Romans 5:5 tells us that the love of Christ has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. We have the love of Christ already in us. We just have to tap into it.
How do we do that? By believing that God loves us.
What does believing that God loves us have to do with loving other people?
The writer of Matthew 19:19 writes, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Most of us don't love ourselves. Therefore we treat ourselves badly, and in turn, we treat others that way as well .
The solution is to love ourselves. The only effective way to do that is to believe that God loves us.
He loved us so much that while we were yet sinners, He sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus, to die for us. While He looked at us covered in lies, adultery, theft, covetousness, greed and selfishness, Jesus endured being beaten, bruised and nailed on the Cross to pay the price for our sin.
The wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23), and the penalty is eternal separation from God..
God loved us so much that He couldn't stand for us be separated from Him for eternity. That's how much He loved and still loves us. He gave us the option to be with Him forever or to be separated from Him. The choice is now ours.
God loves us so much that He has tattoos of us on His palms. He bottles our tears. His thoughts toward us outnumber the grains of sand and are to prosper us and not to harm us.
We are the apple of God's eye. He is a doting Daddy, who loves to shower His kids with blessings. Not because we deserve them but because He loves us and are His children.
Most of us are walking in love in our own strength We try to conjure up enough love in our hearts towards others. When we do this, though, we will always fail. However if we tap into God's strength within us, we can love even the unlovable.
What is God's love like? It is unconditional. No matter what we say or do, God still loves us. He doesn't stop loving us because we hate someone or even commit murder. He always loved us and always will love us.
What is our love like? Our love has conditions. When our husband comes home and admits to an affair, in our own strength, we find it hard to look at him, nevertheless forgive him.
On the contrary, God's love is always forgiving, merciful and gracious.
When we do wrong, what kind of love do we want be met with? Unconditional love? Or conditional? We want to be met with unconditional love.
Many of us don't believe that God loves us. When we don't, we don't believe God forgives us. We berate ourselves and beat ourselves up.
When we believe God loves us without conditions, we relax. We don't try to earn God's love. We don't worry about God being angry at us. There is nothing we can do to make God stop loving us.
Obedience comes easier when we believe God loves us. When we know He loves us, we understand that God wants what is best for us, and are able to trust Him more and more in every area of our lives.
How do we show love to others?
For some people, like our neighbors, the people we come in contact with at the mall, work and the store, we may be the only glimpse of Jesus they will ever see. That is why we need to show the love of God to everyone we meet.
I took an assertive training class in college. The teacher instructed us to say something positive about each student.
Everyone told one woman how she shined with love. She revealed her secret. Every morning she prayed that God's love would flow through her to every person she met.
That should be our daily prayer as well. I believe we would be amazed at the results if we prayed it before we left our homes in the morning.
How do we show love toward others? By remembering them.
Send a card for Christmas, New Years, their birthday, Friendship Day or for no reason in particular.
We can call someone we haven't heard from in awhile or write a note to someone we appreciate. Pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor or pay her a visit.
If we know someone is going through a particularly bad time, we can send him a care package of books, verses, food, practical items as well as special things that he, in particular, would enjoy.
We should to be careful to show the love of God wherever we go. We don't know who is in need of a kind word or deed or when God wants to minister to them through us.
God loves us, and we are to spread His love wherever we go. On our own, in our own strength, we cannot change anyone's lives. With God's love, though, we can make a difference one person at a time.
Annagail Lynes is a pharmacy technician, certified life coach and ordained minister. She is helping people move forward after trauma by helping them discover their purpose. Follow her blog at 316counseling.com
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