What a wonderful difference love makes in our world! And it all started with God. He is the root from which all love springs. John says: “This is love: not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins”. 1 John 4:10. Jesus asks us to apply the love He so freely gives to us to others. Jesus said: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you”. John 15:12
Now that’s difficult! Ask Elizabeth Charles. She was born back in the early 1800s, yet I find that what she wrote is as true in the twenty-first century as it was during her lifetime:
It requires far more of the constraining love of Christ to love our cousins and neighbors as members of the heavenly family, than to feel the heart warm to our suffering brethren in Tuscany or Madeira (far-off places to her). To love the whole church is one thing; to love-that is, to delight in the graces and veil the defects-of the person who misunderstood me and opposed my plans yesterday, whose peculiarities infirmities grate on my most sensitive feelings, or whose natural faults are precisely those from which my natural character most revolts, is quite another.
Yes, Elizabeth, it’s hard to love the one who rubs me the wrong way. Yet, that is loving with the love of God.
On one occasion in the past I knew I would have to spend some time with people who were very unhappy with me, and I dreaded it. But I couldn’t avoid them. All at once God seemed to drop a thought into my heart that totally changed my attitude Just because they don’t love you, doesn’t mean you can’t love them,” He seemed to say. “There is nothing they can do to stop me from loving them!” In fact, when I did see those people, I enjoyed greeting them with a smile. I was totally free to love them whether or not they loved me.
“For Christ’s love compels us,” says Paul (2 Corinthians 5:14). What does His love compel you to do today? How about showing God you love Him by doing something out of the ordinary for somebody who needs encouraging-maybe even someone you don’t like. That’s loving as Jesus loved you.
*adapted from Encouraging Words for Women~Darlene Sala*