Doreen Wennberg

Loving Others Part 2
Thursday, August 24, 2023 by Doreen Wennberg

Do you face hostility at school or work? Have you ever experienced that “outsider” feeling, even in a place of worship? Sadly, these days, it is all too common to live among people where love has grown cold, and cliques are not just in high school. So how do we respond to the growing indifference in our society? Reminding ourselves that Jesus continually experienced rejection but continued to love others— helps us to do the same. If you find that hard to do, read on for encouragement.

In a previous post on Loving Others, I wrote about the new command Jesus gave to his disciples to love one another. He said, “As I have loved you, so must you love one another” (John 13:34). And we may think to ourselves, yeah that is easier said than done—some days!

In verse 35 Jesus said, “By this”, by what— our actions, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. Why then, and now, is it important for others to know we are his disciples?

If we are a disciple of Jesus, our love for one another should be evident. Continuous bickering, jealousy, cliques, and divisions are the worlds way. Christ calls us to be different.

What does loving others look like practically? Love is an action. One way to express love is by helping or giving our time, especially when it's inconvenient. How often do parents stop what they are doing to attend to the needs of their kids? Will we do the same for co-workers, classmates, relatives, or strangers—and what about when it hurts?

I read somewhere, Loving others absorbs hurts from others without complaining or fighting back. That’s not talking about abuse, but rather if you have been the recipient of gossip or slander. The normal reaction in our culture is to defend ourselves—not show love—that is counter-cultural. But isn’t that what Jesus is saying? Love as I have loved you, (John 13:34).

Jesus loves us unconditionally and sacrificially, demonstrated by his death on the cross for our sins. Loving others sacrificially, is what draws unbelievers to Christ.

Let’s consider loving enemies, as Jesus stated in Luke 6:27-36 NLT

In verses 32-34, Jesus asks, “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? And if you do good only to those who do good to you, or lend money only to those who could repay you, why should you get credit?” To each question, Jesus says, even sinners do that.

So, we love our enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting anything in return. By this, Jesus tells us our reward from heaven will be great. This is truly acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. (Luke 6:35 NLT). If he is, how much more should we follow his example?

It will not always be easy to love difficult people or people who snub you or regard you as an enemy. But if we have the Holy Spirit living within us as believers, he will enable us to see people through his eyes and live differently than the world does.

In what way is Jesus calling you to step out and love someone sacrificially? And how will you respond to that call? How will you pray for others who oppose you – recognizing that God loves them too?

Lord, help us to recognize the humanity in every person we meet. Give us supernatural love and compassion for those who judge or oppose us. Convict us and forgive us where we have judged them. Give us the desire and ability to pray for them. May your Spirit draw them to you and bring unity. ~In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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