For some of us it is hard to love. For those of us that love comes easier to, we still find certain people harder to love than others. I’m sure we all find certain people in specific situations that are harder to love than others.
For those of us that are Christians, I’m sure we don’t have a hard time loving most of our fellow Christians. What about those that aren’t Christians? Especially the ones living really wicked lives? Do we love them? Do we have to love them? I only ask that last question because I know some Christians believe they don’t have to love them.
Let’s look at love. More specifically, what is love, why we are to love, and who are we to love?
What is Love?
- 1 John 4 talks a lot about love in verses 7-12, and 16-21. It is in verse 9, though, that we find the greatest example of love. That God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. So, we can see that love is sacrifice.
- 2 John 6 says, “this is love, that we walk after His commandments.” For we know that Jesus said in
- And, we won’t go over them here, but 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is full of what love is and what it isn’t. Then verse 13 says, “And now abideth faith hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” In today’s English, we would use the word “love” in place of “charity”.
Why are We to Love?
- In Galatians 5:14 we find that the whole Law is fulfilled in “on word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
- We find that, both, the Crown of Life and the Kingdom are promised to those that love in James 1:12; 2:15.
- We are told by Jesus, in John 14:21, that if we love Him we will be loved by the Father. We are also told, in the same verse, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.” Here we see how it is that we prove our love for Christ.
Who are We to Love?
There are many we could list that we are told to love. However, for this post, we are going to stick to the original questions we asked.
- Jesus tells us that we are to love our enemies. Matthew 5:43.
- At Jesus’ last supper, He gave his disciples the command to love one another John 13:34. A command that is repeated to us in various places.
- We are told to love our neighbors. We find this in many passages. One being, Luke 10:25-28, while Jesus is having a conversation with a lawyer. This is a good passage, because we find in the following verses the explanation of we are to include as our neighbors. Verse 29 tells us that the lawyer wanted to “justify himself”, asking Jesus “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus takes the next little bit, verses 30 – 35, to tell the lawyer the story of the Good Samaritan. I will let you read the story for yourself. I would encourage you to read it if you haven’t! It is a great example of one person showing compassion toward a stranger.
After the story, Jesus asks the lawyer which person would be the neighbor, and the lawyer correctly answers “He that showed mercy on him.” In this story, we find that anybody could be considered our neighbor.
- If that story isn’t good enough for us, Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 3:12 tells us, “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you.” Toward all men!!
So, we are to love all men. Yes, that is hard to do sometimes. Does that mean we must love what they do, or overlook how they are living? No, Romans 12:9 tells us to “abhor that which is evil”, but what it doesn’t do is tell us to abhor the one doing the evil. Remember that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). If Christ could love us enough to die for us while we were sinner, then we can bring ourselves to love our fellow man even if they are living in sin. If we cannot love them, how can we reach them?