Loving Others (Part A)
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them (Luke 6:32).
I was recently asked someone’s forgiveness for offense they had taken after I explained my words were taken out of context from what was shared with them and what was actually said. The person was intrigued why I would repent and ask their forgiveness. My response was, and is, if being “right” represents 98% and the other 2% is to be in “relationship”, then I’ll take the 2% and apologize for any wrong they felt.
Agape love is what Jesus extended to us on the cross, His offering of self to make a wrong right is at the core of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Looked at this way, love is grace in action. It is giving unconditionally to meet the needs of another. This is the basis of love in relationship, I’ve found you don’t need to be “right” in the interest of preserving relationship.
The words below have been adapted from the author of the Freedom In Christ, Neil Anderson. For many people, loving others who do them wrong is a nebulous concept. Fortunately, agape love is very clearly defined in the Scriptures. When love is used as a noun in Scripture, it is referring to character. For example: 'God is love' (1 John 4:8); 'Love is patient, love is kind,' etc. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
Love is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), the means by which a true disciple of Christ is identified (John 13:35). The attention given to love in passages such as 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 4 reveals its importance to God in our interpersonal relationships, of which the family is primary.
Lord, teach us to be humble and gentle. Being patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of Your love. Teach us to be united in the Spirit, binding ourselves together with Your grace and peace.
Pastor Greg Volich