I’m the first to admit, I’m not perfect. Never have been. And I’m sure there have been many times during my life when acquaintances, friends, family, and co-workers have found me difficult to love. Yet in spite of what I know about myself, I still frequently find it hard to love others unqualitatively. Such as the church member serving as treasurer who got mad because the ruling authorities decided they would audit the books annually. He took this as an affront to his credibility, and I was the one he chose to take his anger out on. Or the woman who blatantly accused my wife of trying to take over things in the church…activities no one else was doing. And the deacon who wanted to “think” about allowing me to go bi-vocational even though the church couldn’t pay me enough to live on. Then there was my good friend who decided he wanted my wife…and she agreed. And who can forget the man who challenged my decision to have a toilet at the church repaired without first voting on it at a church business meeting? All people who were difficult to love.
Whoever wrote this letter wanted these believers to keep on loving those difficult to love people. In fact, their love would fulfill all God’s commands and keep them from becoming spiritually dull and indifferent.
Just after loving God with my entire heart and being—according to Jesus—comes loving my neighbor as I do myself. The above are just a few examples of neighbors I had difficulty loving. There have been many more. But then again, loving them only when they’re easy to love doesn’t take much effort—or love, and doesn’t even define love. Unconditional is a better term. The way God loves me when I disobey him, affront him, neglect him, try to manipulate him, and totally disregard him.
Whom do you need to show love to?
Prayer: God of all love, teach us to love others unconditionally as You do us.