In a general statement, we have a hard time loving people that dont fit into our social standing or social behavior guidelines. If they arent like me then I find it hard to love them. We have to find a connection point with a person, and usually that connection point is set by me/you. You could call it a non-communicated grading scale. Unbeknownst to the other person they are being evaluated and interviewed. Accepted or rejected are the only two options.
Now, it is easy to love the homeless and the destitute, even the sick. When you love the destitute and the sick you have empathy. These tend to be the feelings that Christians seek to feel. Almost anyone can do that!
1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but dont love, Im nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak Gods Word with power, revealing all His mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, Jump, and it jumps, but I dont love, Im nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I dont love, Ive gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, Im bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesnt want what it doesnt have.
Love doesnt strut,
Doesnt have a swelled head,
Doesnt force itself on others,
Isnt always me first,
Doesnt fly off the handle,
Doesnt keep score of the sins of others,
Doesnt revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
When I was an infant at my mothers breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
We dont yet see things clearly. Were squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it wont be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! Well see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
Love is a choice, and because of our flesh it is contrary to our nature. We are me focused and look at our lives as my life. We forget that we are all on the same team. Its not my life but our lives together
Why is it hard to love like Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 13?
Because Im selfish
Because Im stubborn and un-submitted
Because Im entitled to be happy
Because Im faithless
We must love others enough to forgive and seek forgiveness. Without seeking forgiveness or forgiving we allow our relationship to be divided and broken (Mt 18:21-22).
Is love neat and pretty (happily ever after comes to mind)? Real love is messy!
So how do we cultivate this love?
1) Pray & Obey
Pray and allow the Lord to first cultivate love in your own heart. We must also be willing to obey God when He calls us to action in loving others.
2) We are to keep short accounts
Having an accountability partner is a great way (LTG). We must allow people into the deep areas of our lives (Ro 12:9-13).
3) Confess our sins to each other.
We need to be honest with one another and allow God to heal our hearts (Jas 5:16).
4) Dont judge
Make a choice not to place others in the worst-case scenario (Jas 5:9).
5) Communicate your relationship expectations
Dont assume that they know your expectation when you havent clearly communicated your needs.
Be quick to forgive
Dont carry offenses
Be quick to seek forgiveness from others
At the moment its not always easy to see our part. Take some time to be with the Lord and allow Him to show you your part and what He wants you to own. We all have our part.