Not everyone is lovable. Not everyone is sweet. Not all the time, anyway. And loving our neighbors — and enemies — doesn’t come naturally. It’s not like when we “fell in love” with our spouses.
This godly love is by command of our Lord Jesus Christ. And it can only be actualized when we take on His characteristics after we receive His Spirit. So — Jesus gives us the power to love unconditionally and, at the same time, He makes it possible.
Man is endowed with “will” and, when we make that will subject to our Master, it flows with His intent for us — always in the same vein.
Loving is so much easier than hating. “Oh no,” you might say. “I just can’t love that person.”
I’ll have to agree — some people do make it hard to love them. Can you say, “I choose to love you, whether you want me to or not.” That’s what Jesus did. Are we better than our Lord?
Do you want to go through life meeting the distress and beating your head against the wall that comes with carrying hate in your heart? — meeting your feelings at every turn until ultimately you’re consumed with unforgiveness.
The love of Christ gives a proper perspective. He said to pray for your enemies. What a wonderful directive. There’s no way you can really pray for your enemies without the love of God. The communication with the God of love will erase thoughts and feelings which are not like Him.
Peter in 2 Peter 1:5 explains the attributes of a child of God and how they stack up: “… add to your … brotherly kindness love.” Since love is an indefinite characteristic to most people, it stands to reason we don’t really know what we mean when we talk about love. Spiritually, Jesus demands that love — which is the highest preference of one to another — must be for Him.
When “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5), it is easy to put Jesus first. But then we must practice the things mentioned in 2 Peter if love is worked out in our lives.
God loved us not because we are lovable, but because it is His nature to do so. And He commands us to show the same love to others. “… love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). He tells us He will bring people into our lives and although we may not respect them, we must exhibit His love to them — not a patronizing love for the unlovable. And it will not manifest itself in us overnight.
Oswald Chambers in his book, “My Utmost for His Highest,” said, “The knowledge that God has loved me beyond all limits will compel me to go into the world to love others in the same way. I may get irritated because I have to live with an unusually difficult person. But just think how disagreeable I have been with God! Am I prepared to be identified so closely with the Lord Jesus that His life and His sweetness will be continually poured out through Me? Neither natural love nor God’s divine love will remain and grow in me unless it is nurtured. Love is spontaneous, but it has to be maintained through discipline.”
The phrase, “love one another” is found 13 times in the New Testament (in 12 verses). Undoubtedly, it was very important to the fellowship of believers. Paul uses the words twice, Peter once and it comes from John’s writings 10 times, three times from Jesus’ own lips.
In 1 John 4:7 (KJV) is one of the most beautiful of the admonitions: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”