The two greatest commandments we have ever received from God are to love Him and love people. It just so happens that those are the two most difficult things to do in this world, whether Christians want to admit it or not.
Do you love the homeless? The prostitute? The politicians you disagree with? The bully? The drunk? The drug addict? The master manipulator? The person who hurt you? Can you see their pain past their wrong words and actions?
When God tells us to love others, He doesn’t mean for us to complain about people’s actions and then “say a prayer for them”, followed by pushing them away or forgetting about them completely. What it means is we should be confident enough in Christ that we don’t have to allow ourselves to get offended by people’s behavior, but instead love them so much that we are willing to get close enough to let the light of Christ within us take over their darkness. What are we so afraid of?
There is this thing in the church where some people assume that they can state whatever they feel is the truth, claim it is from God, and when the world rejects it they like to act like they are being persecuted. In reality, they may (or may not) have been saying something that is true, but the way they deliver it is in a very ugly, and not Christ-like package. I have been guilty of this. I honestly don’t know of any Christian who hasn’t done this to some degree. But eventually we have to move past that and see people the way God sees them, especially in the midst of their sin.
God is so merciful and patient with us. Christians want people to do the right thing so badly that we often forget that the world isn’t going to act like Jesus, BECAUSE THEY AREN’T HIS FOLLOWERS. We are though.
Jesus says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15 NKJV
Love is what encourages us to keep His commandments, “because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 NKJV). We are supposed to live as examples of Christ. People need to see Him in us and be set free by His love so they can begin to keep His commandments. People do not get saved and suddenly do right through criticism, insults, or others complaining about them. They get saved through Jesus, and Jesus is love.
Romans 5:6-11 NKJV
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
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