“Abound in love to one another” (1 Thessalonians 3:12)
God’s second great commandment is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). (The first commandment is to love God – heart, mind, soul and strength.)
I find that loving others can be a difficult assignment, especially when the “others” have treated me badly—for example, those to whom I have loaned money and who have neither repaid the loan, nor have made any attempt to do so. You could be facing a far more difficult situation, such as an unfaithful marriage partner or an abusive parent. Loving such people may seem impossible..
There are two keys to our successfully loving others.
First, loving others is a requirement, not an option. We may not feel like loving someone who has deeply offended us. But God requires us to decide to forgive and love that person in spite of the offense. In my experience, feelings will eventually follow. But the starting point is always a decision—to forgive and to love.
Second, we are only truly able to love others based on God’s love toward and through us. Imagine His love as an inexhaustible river of water flowing into us and out through us to others. He is the source. We are conduits. People we encounter are recipients—very possibly experiencing a quality of love they’ve never known.
Loving others is a privilege and responsibility that comes directly from God’s heart.
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