By merely having a brief conversation with me, it will quickly become apparent how much I love people. I take Paul’s words in Roman 12:9-10 seriously:
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
Romans 12:9-10 NLT
Other translations say, “let love be genuine.” At times it can be difficult to genuinely love someone, especially when you feel that they have wronged you. Jesus teaches us to love them anyway. Consider for a moment all the times in your life when you were truly unlovable. Jesus genuinely loved you even then, when you were at your worst and least deserving.
Most of the time, loving others brings joy and happiness into life. Genuine love involves sharing meaningful moments together, helping them, serving them, and interceding on their behalf. But, as a human being, you know that life has a few bumps in the road because as humans, we are imperfect, which makes loving people very difficult.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.
Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.
Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
Proverbs 4:23-27, NIV
I appreciate this scripture from Proverbs because we think that love comes from the heart, which we are supposed to keep guarded, but the author also mentions our mouth, eyes, and feet should be guarded as well. We love others by what we say (or don’t say!). We love by looking to see what God sees in people, but also by choosing to keep only pure things in our sight and thoughts. We love best by walking by the example set for us by Jesus, which, by the way, is communicated to us through Scripture and convictions by the Holy Spirit.
Love also brings restoration. Restore is defined as bringing something back to its intended shape or condition. Being made in God’s image, we are made to love others with pure hearts. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we have any hope to be restored by God’s love and to have to the opportunity to let that love overflow to love others.
Sometimes loving someone leads to you being really hurt. Do not let that hinder you from giving your best in loving people. God gave you the capacity to love others, and you shouldn’t deny other people that blessing because it is actually Jesus who is showing them love through you.
God so generously and genuinely loves us. It is truly astounding. What can you do to love others the way Jesus loves?