When loving others isn't easy

Loving God and loving others.

After hearing a sermon from a respected area pastor on Matthew 22 in my early blogging days, the above title for my blog stuck. What better reminder for this girl who seemed to struggle with loving anyone but herself?

All these years, every time I log into my blog I’m reminded of what Jesus said are the two greatest and most important commandments…

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39

Still, there are days I mess up the “loving others” part. I wish I could say I love others perfectly. But I can’t, because I don’t. It’s the title of my blog, so I should be good at loving others 24/7, right?

Wrong.

I mean, really… more than I care to admit I can be selfish, frustrated, impatient, judgmental, and down-right unloving. And friend, when I’m these all at the same time, let me tell you, it’s ugly.

Ask my husband. He’s taken the brunt of these un-pleasantries, and has seen it all. It’s a wonder he still puts up with me. (I’m thankful he does!)

Maybe you understand where I’m coming from. Maybe there are days when loving others isn’t easy for you, too. Good news! We aren’t alone in this. God will help us if we ask Him to, and from personal experience, this makes all the difference.

God will help us love othersAlso, no matter if it’s a family member, a friend, or the person who cuts me off on the highway, when I sense unloving thoughts rising, I now try to remember three key truths:

1. God loves this person as much as He loves me.

God loves all His creation, including you, and including me. Nothing can separate us from His love. He also doesn’t love one person more than another. So, if God loves us all the same, I should too. After all, God has shown me love when I didn’t deserve it, and I’m thankful He continues to do so.

2. This person has a story.

There is a story inside every person, and often what someone is dealing with comes out completely different in actions and words. I may never know what’s truly going on inside that person, but this is when I can show grace and mercy. This is when I can remove my judgments and just show love.

3. He/she is filled with great qualities.

Instead of focusing on the negative, I try to focus on positive qualities this person has, and the many things I see God has blessed him/her with. This is more difficult with someone I don’t know, but I still attempt to look for the good. “She’s a talented cook.” “He provides for his family.” “She’s a good mom to her children.” “He takes care of his car.” The unloving thoughts disappear much more quickly when I look at the positive.

 

I don’t always follow these perfectly, and sometimes I catch myself too late. But I’ve found these three truths help keep me on track to continue loving others the way God asks me to.

What helps you love others? What assists you to show love when you “aren’t feeling it?” Would you share one of them below? Your idea might just be the answer to someone’s prayer today, and I’d love to read it and encourage you, as well.

May we each be intentional on loving God and loving others throughout our day today and in the week ahead.

Blessings,

Julie

It’s a joy to link up with Mary, Barbie & friends at The Weekend Brew and Susan and friends at #DanceWithJesus. I invite you to visit these two amazing place for more encouragement over your weekend.

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