And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”Matthew 22:37-39 ESV
The command to love your neighbor as yourself is not meant for those who are pleasant to us. Let’s be real. We are not called to love because people are always lovable, but God commands us to love because He knows what selfishness lives in our hearts. He knows how we struggle with contempt and expectations, with passions and desires, with betrayal and hurt. He knows how we fail to love.
Every person is an individual, created by our Father in heaven and capable of a unique relationship to God. They are not a thing to be dealt with impersonally, or to be opposed or accepted as it suits our purpose, but they should be treated as a living, breathing, searching creation of God, just like us. That is why we are to love one another. We are to love our neighbor without regard to what that person is like—this is what is meant when the Bible talks about love. True love is an interest in and a concern for another person because they are a person and a fellow creation of God, and for no other reason. The problem is our sinful, judgmental hearts often get in the way, and we choose who we want to love and who we don’t. We are to love as He loved.
This world is a desolate place apart from the great warmth of love. How empty life would be if we did not know love! God alone is the source of love, the only kind of love that truly satisfies, the only kind that meets the hunger of our hearts. We spend so much time looking for His love in the wrong places—in things, in other people—and, as a result, we spend a great deal of time disappointed and hurt. It is this searching, this expectation that another person or thing can fill our heart, that often gets in the way of our ability to love others. We look to people to be what only He can be to us, and when they fail us, we stop loving them. He alone satisfies our heart. We are called to be a demonstration of His love to the people on our lives—not just when it’s easy, but an abundant demonstration even when it’s most difficult.
The single greatest apologetic is relationships and community. Think about that. An apologetic is the presentation of evidence for our faith; it is the proof of God. Your marriage is either confirming or denying the existence of God to the watching people in your life. How you respond to your spouse, how you value their priorities, how you make decisions in unity, how you continually humble yourself and submit, how you protect their reputation by only speaking highly of them, how you serve them sacrificially—it’s all evidence of a supernatural love that does not originate in your own heart, but is a good and perfect gift, coming down from Father of lights. (James 1:7). There simply is no better way to prove God, or be a witness for the Kingdom of Heaven, than loving when it’s hard.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗