Two Steps to Loving Others

Two Steps to Loving Others

Our Lord wants us to love one another; the Bible makes that very clear.  However, for many of us it can be a great challenge to feel love for some of the people who cross our path each day.  It is clear that this is important to the Lord from many scriptures, including the words of Jesus in Mark 12:31. After teaching that the first commandment was to love God with everything we have, Jesus states, “'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these."  It couldn’t be much clearer, but just in case we didn’t get it, John reiterates the point.

 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  -  1 John 4:8 (NKJV)

Take heart!  The Lord will never require us to do something without offering us His power to succeed.  The Bible gives us a two-step program for achieving this love of others.  Be warned – it isn’t a program you can do once and then forget about it.  It’s a daily, sometimes hourly, process that must be repeated as often as needed.  The steps are:

1.       Admit that we are incapable of doing this without the Holy Spirit working through us

2.       Acknowledge the need for a constant flow of grace from God to ourselves to others

I believe item 1 is already clear to most of us.  If you are like me, you don’t have to remember very far back to think of a time when you had unkind thoughts about another person, or lost your temper with someone.  We very much want to behave in a way that honors Christ, but our personal will power is not enough to get us there. 

When thinking about item 2, you can imagine that flow of grace as if you are a fire hose on full blast.  One end of that hose is connected to the Holy Spirit.  It must be connected so well that His grace and love floods into you.  You realize how much was done for you when you deserved it the least.  Your heart becomes so full of God’s love that it begins to overflow and pour out in the form of patience, kindness, and mercy when dealing with others.  The key here is the source – not our own willpower, but the passing on of Jesus’s love to others. 

When you find yourself about to become irritated or angry by another person, start a new habit of prayer at those moments.   Tell God that you know you cannot react appropriately and that you need His love to flow into and out of you, to this other person.  Over time we can develop this into a habit so the behavior will become automatic.

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "LOVE WILL COVER A MULTITUDE OF SINS." - 1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV)

My wonderful pastor, Pastor Ken says, “Consider yourself to be a dispenser of grace, not just a catching pot.”  This is a great lesson.  I pray the Lord will help me learn it well.