We considered the question, “Who are the toughest people for you to love? Strangers? Someone who’s hurt you?” Christians may be described by some outsiders as hypocritical and judgmental. But that hasn’t been the experience of those in our group.”Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars”! I John 4:20 We hope and pray we are never convicted of this charge!
What is Love? Love is grace, acceptance, forgiveness – and more. Do we love others (including strangers) as much as we profess we love God? We all struggle in varying degrees depending on the situation and the person(s) involved, and what is going-on in our own lives at that particular moment.
Does God’s grace enable us to forgive people who have hurt us? The general response to this seems to be “forgive, but not forget”. That is a fine distinction. To be recognized, love must be expressed. Expression of love can take place via words, actions, touch, facial countenance, attitude, responses, etc. “Love” must be an action verb, as “Believe” must be an action verb. To Believe is To Love. To Love is To Believe.
Beginning this next session, “Be Like Jesus”, with the virtue of Love is appropriate. Love may very well be the foundation for the other virtues we will be studying in the next several weeks. In order to effectively experience joy, peace, self-control, etc., one must first have love. But to love as Jesus loved can be very difficult. Loving in a sacrificial way is a challenge for most of us. Sometimes we find that love is a process which needs to continually be nurtured. In fact, when love fails, it’s usually because one or both parties stop trying to grow the relationship. Love is also risky. C.S. Lewis said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.” But, we take this risk because Jesus calls us to love one another as he has loved us.
View the video that a mother made describing how she learned the meaning of unconditional love: