“He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” — Luke 10:27 NIV
Let’s be honest – it is not always easy to love all the people that come across our path. Our first impressions on someone may warp our perspective and it makes it difficult for us to see the person in a different light later on. We also can come across people where our personality clashes and of course there are the run ins with sandpaper people. — (Click link to learn more about them)
Love For Enemies
God is pretty clear on His direction to “love others”.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. — Luke 6:27-28 NIV
I don’t know about you, however I sometimes really struggle with loving those who have hurt and mistreated me. My natural reaction is to fight back or walk away from my enemies. It certainly is not to bless them and pray for them. God has taught me that the love that He talks about in this scripture is a love that stems from Him and not from us. It is called “agape” love.
The word agape love is one of several Greek words that describe love. Agape love has really nothing to do with our “feelings” but rather a motivation to treat others well. When we are walking in “agape” love we are walking in a sacrificial love. This sacrificial love leads us to voluntarily suffer inconvenience, discomfort, and even death for the benefit of another. By walking in this love, we love without expecting anything in return.
God has directed us to agape love and directs us to follow Jesus Christ’s example.
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” – Ephesians 5:1-2
He even tells us that it is a commandment from Him.
”A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” – John 13:34 NKJV
You Have Help
God knows that in our humanness that’s this type of love can be daunting and that it is something that we can not do in our own strength. He has promised (and delivered on His promise) and gave us a helper. He has given us the Holy Spirit who gives us the help that we need to walk in “agape love”.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” – John 14:15-18 NKJV
I for one am very grateful for this help, as I have had to lean on it many times throughout my life.
Like Vs Agape Love
The truth is that I am not going to like everyone that crosses my path and I know that not everyone is going to like me. I am making a choice today and committing to myself and to God that I am going to strive to love everyone. Are you willing to make that choice as well? We can do this love walk together, with each other and with God leading the way.
There is a difference between liking and loving and we can show love without liking the other person. Love is respect, and love is kindness. Walking in love is treating others with compassion and having empathy. Love includes forgiveness – whether asked of us or not. Agape love is surrender – surrendering to God and His commandment to “love one another”. To love like Christ is to love with sacrifice.
Called to Agape Love
God has called us to love and He also equips us to love. If we surrender, we can even show love to those that have hurt us and to those who have mistreated us.
We are reassured by God’s promises that:
“no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.“ – Isaiah 54:17 NIV
We are reassured that He promises to never leave us nor forsake us.
”Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]” Hebrews 13:5 AMPC
When we surrender our hurt to Him, He will heal our hearts. He will help us to set boundaries with those whom we need to set boundaries with and will help us to leave situations where we are in danger if we stay.
God has shown me the importance of loving others — it truly is not ok to disrespect another – degrade another or humiliate another. God help us to love as You love.
Father God sometimes I find it so hard to love others in the way that You have commanded me to love. I have allowed resentment, bitterness, anger and hurt to get in the way of “agape love”. Forgive me for not always walking in love and for allowing my “feelings” to dictate my actions. Lord, help me to love like You have loved. May I see people with the lens of compassion, empathy, grace, and forgiveness. Help me to demonstrate sacrificial love to others as You have loved me with. I pray that a You will heal any wounds that I am still holding onto and that You will set me free from the bondage of unforgiveness. Thank You Father for the vastness of Your love for me and for teaching me the power of agape love. In Jesus’ Name I pray ~~ Amen
Do you struggle with loving others with “agape love”? Is there someone you need to extend agape love towards? Ask God to help you put your feelings aside and put agape love in action. Let me know in the comments as I would love to hear from you and pray for you too.
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