While considering what to write about this week, I felt led to discuss some practical ways to go about loving others, despite their weaknesses. And, of course, loving those people who are just generally hard to get along with (aka, “gifts”).
Love and feeling happy with someone, are two different things. Feelings are about as reliable as the weather–they’re not. But love, in its purest form, goes beyond our emotions. It’s a self-sacrificial act that requires us to say no to our selfish tendencies and prefer another person over ourselves. True love is led by Holy Spirit, not our emotions.
1. Speak life over them
A wise man once said, “Anyone can look at a person and call out their faults. But it takes the Holy Spirit for one to see past the faults and say what the Lord says over that person.” In order to truly love a difficult person, we need to change the way we think and speak about them. So much so, that we go out of our way to build them up and call out their God-given identity. This requires us to lean on Holy Spirit and pray about the Lord’s heart towards that person. The more we understand a person, the more equipped we are to truly help.
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”~ Proverbs 12:18
2. Go low
Love is all about serving. Just look at Jesus! He is the greatest servant of all– going to the extremes of dying for the very people who were crucifying Him (as well as every other sinner in the world!). Go out of your way to bless others and find ways to prefer them. Bringing them a spontaneous cup of coffee (or apple cider!), offering to help on a project, choosing not to punch them in the face even when they’re driving you crazy…
” We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.”~Romans 15:1
3. Lead in truth
Be an example to people in speech and action. Inspire others to love Jesus and pursue Him. Call people up to righteousness and encourage them in their walk with the Lord. Speak up, in love. And, most importantly, continuously trust the Lord with your heart and the hearts of those around you. Our broken and fleshly ways lead to death, but the love and peace found in Jesus lead to hope and transformation–He is the only way to life.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,”~ Ephesians 2:8
When we go out of our way to love, we’ll realize the weakness of our flesh and the strength found in Christ. In order to truly lead others into truth and freedom, we need to give God our broken lenses and allow Him to change our perspectives. We’ll find that we have to allow Jesus to change and mold us, before we can expect others to change. Because, ultimately, the journey of learning to love is a transformation of ourselves.
Who is one person you can intentionally love today?