Loving When It Hurts
Bible Reading: 1 John 2:1-6
Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Christ did. 1 John 2:6
Huge Question: How do you know if you truly love someone?
Despite what you hear all around you, love is more than a good feeling. When you truly love, it becomes an action. You give yourself to others as God does.
If you accept God’s challenge to love others like Christ loves you, then you will help them deepen their dedication to God and protect them from the stain of sin and hurt. If you’re wondering if you really love someone—whether it’s someone of the opposite sex, a family member, a classmate, a neighbor, or a stranger—ask yourself these questions:
- Am I making that person’s health, happiness, and growth as important to me as my own?
- Am I trying to help that person mature in every possible way—mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially?
- Am I protecting that person from anything that threatens his or her well-being—or slows his or her growth?
- Am I prodding that person toward holiness and godliness?
- Am I adding to his or her beauty as a person—not leading him or her into ugly stuff?
- Is he or she more pure and gung-ho about God because of me, instead of stained with sin because of things we have gotten into?
If you can answer these questions with a confident “yes,” you’re truly loving that person. But get this: All your right, loving actions might not be accompanied by a flood of warm, fuzzy feelings of love or affection.
You don’t always feel like obeying your parents, doing your homework, or brushing your teeth. But most of the time you manage to do those things because you have made a decision to do what’s right.
Love is the same way. It isn’t something you always feel; it’s something you do. God says to do loving deeds whether you feel like it or not. Jesus didn’t feel like giving his life to save the human race. The night before he was crucified, Jesus agonized in the garden, looking for a way to avoid the cross (see Matthew 26:38-39). But he chose to follow God’s plan and sacrificed himself for our sin. And there’s a bonus. When you begin to love people you don’t feel like loving, you often learn to like-or even love-them.
REFLECT: Who in your life needs love—even if you don’t feel like loving them?
PRAY: Ask Jesus to love that person through you with the love he demonstrated for you.
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