20 If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. - 1 John 4:20-21
This verse point out just how broken our hearts truly are because it points out the truth: If we struggle to love those around us, we cannot love God.
We love well when it’s easy. Think about it. The words, “I love you” flow from our mouths when the other person has made us feel good about ourselves. We typically tell our loved ones they are loved when our needs have been met, when we’re feeling pretty good about ourselves, when our expectation for how they should treat us have been played out. They give us something or do something for us, we’re content with the relationship, they haven’t hurt us - those are all times it’s easy to say I love you. I love you communicates how well I’m feeling right now about our relationship.
But this isn’t biblical love. Biblical love is sacrificial love, it’s saying I love you when it’s hard. It’s putting the other’s needs before our own, it’s understanding the other person’s perspective, it’s accepting their struggle with sin because you have your own, it’s showing grace when mistakes are made, it’s giving mercy where it isn’t deserved, it pursues the other person despite the hurt they have caused you. That’s the kind of love God showers on us every single day, and that’s the love He expects us to show His children.
There is nothing we can go to separate ourselves from the love of God. Nothing we do can push Him away - think about that. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:38-39. Is this how we love people in our lives? Can we say I will love you to the hardest people in our lives no matter what they do to us? Or is there I limit? I will love you until you do “this” to me. That’s not how God loves us. That’s not biblical love.
Problems enter relationships when our expectations aren’t met. Every single conflict you have in a relationship can be traced back to an expectation of yours not being met. Your expectation of being treated in a certain way, your desire to be respected or loved the way you desire to be loved, your need to be heard or supported - it all gets in the way of you being able to love others the way He calls us to love.
Our “I love you’s” should mean “I love you before me”. I love you before my needs, I love you before my expectations, I love you before me. Thinking about how to communicate that in my most difficult relationships this morning.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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