Loving Others through God’s Love

David and his younger brother, Chris, have been estranged for six years. An argument between Chris and David’s ex-girlfriend led to it. She called Chris immature and petty because he refused to contribute financially to a surprise trip for the brother’s parents. It had been her idea, but David thought it was an excellent way to show them gratitude on their 30th wedding anniversary. Chris was 25 and had been saving up to move out of his parent’s home. He didn’t think they needed an expensive trip and thought they’d enjoy a celebration with their family and friends more. Chris felt strongly that Celeste, David’s ex-girlfriend, hadn’t known his folks long enough to know what they’d enjoy most, but David defended her position. He and Chris said some awful things to one another, hurtful things, and neither one of them has apologized or spoken since. Their parents are heartbroken over this rift, and even though Celeste is no longer in the picture, the brothers haven’t been able to get beyond their anger.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the problems between the two brothers didn’t begin with Celeste. It started way before then, and because neither of them learned to communicate honestly, openly, and respectfully about their feelings, they internalized them and allowed hurt and anger to fester within them. This is learned behavior, and for the sake of living a life of peace, fulfillment, and love, we have to unlearn it.

Life is all about relationships and understanding this in the light of God’s love will remove much of the entangled complications we bring into it. God doesn’t do anything outside His extraordinary love. He’s woven His love into everything He touches and everything that He’s created and made. Every person that is alive today and that has ever lived was created from God’s love. Ephesians 2:10(NLT) declares, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” If we’ll meditate on this verse, we can’t help but conclude that as His children, God wants us to love Him, ourselves, and others through Jesus Christ. He wants this for us because He created us in His image, and His image is love.

We are called to love! To be called by our Heavenly Father is to be tasked or charged to get something done. It is to first have confidence that when He calls us, He qualifies us. What does this mean? It means that God does not give us assignments, tasks, duties, or responsibilities without providing everything we need to carry them forth. This is why placing our confidence in Colossians 2:10(NLT) is so incredibly important. It says, “So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” Jesus Christ is the blueprint of our design. Contained within Christ is everything we need to be who God created us to be and to do what God created us to do. So, again, we are called to walk in God’s love, to operate in, by, and through it every moment of the day. And we are empowered through Jesus Christ to live this way.

On judgment day, they’ll be no telling God that we couldn’t satisfy our call because we lacked this or that. He will see right through this, because He knows what’s He’s given us through His beloved and powerful Son. God knows that although stuff in life gets very challenging sometimes, He’s made sure that we’re always up for the challenge because He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus Christ paid the price for us to live a more than abundant life through God’s love, and because of Christ, we are equipped to do this.

Even though David and Chris seem to be very angry at each other, the truth that they are revealing lies in the depth of their pain, and their unwillingness to confront it. They’ve allowed bitterness to stew and fester in their hearts, and this is a sin against our Heavenly Father. Hebrews 12:15(NLT) warns, “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Bitterness is a tool that the devil uses to disconnect us from our destinies and cause us to become hardhearted.

In a situation like David’s and Chris’s, a person has bitter thoughts, and they meditate on them or think about them repeatedly. The situation plays in their minds like a movie. These repeated thoughts drop into in a person’s heart, and there, they become an attitude or way of being that keeps a person blinded in many ways.

Bitterness locks the Father out, but humility extends an invitation to His goodness, grace, and mercy. Men find humility very challenging at times, but with God, humility is a must. It is non-negotiable. We have a perfect advocate in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:15(NLT) tells us, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” Jesus Christ understands every facet of human existence. He knows the temptations we face, and he also knows that it can be challenging to surrender and yield in humility, especially when we have no idea how the other person will receive us or respond. This kind of vulnerability may not be easy for everyone, and this is why we need God’s help.

You and I are not the problem solvers. That role belongs to our wonderful Lord. He is the answer for all our issues. He tells us that the remedy for bitterness and resentment, especially within a person’s family, is prayer. Our first line of action is to pray that God will work within our hearts and work within the person’s heart so that any bitterness is uprooted by His love. David might think, “Chris is the one in the wrong. Why should I be the one to pray? I have nothing to apologize for.” Our battles in life are never about a person, it is always about whether we will choose to honor God and to submit to what He says is the right way to live and treat others.

In Matthew 22:37-39(NLT), Jesus Christ was asked about the greatest commandment in the Law of Moses. He replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” This is a direct commandment for our Lord and Savior. We must love the Father with our entire being. He is so patient, because He waits on us to catch up with this commandment. We don’t always love Him the way He deserves, because we allow negative things to occupy our hearts instead of giving Him all our heart space.

Your mind and heart are battlegrounds where you decide whether to win or lose the war. Bitterness and unforgiveness are choices that will always keep us on the losing side. But we can and should make a different choice. God has empowered us through Jesus Christ to love the way He loves. We are His children, and we must believe that He gave His Son to die for our sins, and that through Christ we have a new nature that is created in holiness.

2Corinthians 5:17(NLT), tells us, “this means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” We are a new creations in Christ, and we must never consider it a burden to get rid of anything that is outside God’s love so that we can put on more of His nature. When this is our prime motivation, God will heal our hearts and the hearts of others as we continue to pray and walk in faith.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Loving Others through God’s Love”, written for 4theChristianman.com. Copyright© 2023. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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