When Love Is a One-way Street
Bible Reading: John 1:10-13
If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself—2 Timothy 2:13.
How do you treat people who trash you?
Let me guess. Maybe not quite as kindly as God treats us when we reject him?
See, God loves us whether we receive that love or not. You probably know that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes…” (John 3:16, NIV). The key word there is whoever. When God gave his Son, he knew that some would believe and others would not. John wrote, “Even in his own land and among his own people, he was not accepted” (John 1: 11). God knew that a sizable chunk of humankind would stomp on his gift of salvation and hoof it away from him. Yet he keeps on loving us.
If you ever doubt that God’s love persists even when we snub him, consider how Jesus displayed love. He knew Judas would betray him, but he loved Judas and called him to be a disciple anyway. When the crowd cried, “Crucify him!” Jesus responded, “Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23 :34). Christ died for all, even those who turn their backs on him. Think about it: Even your freedom to choose for or against God is a gift from him. He wants you to love him, but he won’t make you.
If giving with no demand for payback is how God loves, that’s what true love looks like. That’s the love God commands you to show in all your relationships.
When you decide to love like God loves, you might face the same rejection Jesus did. You might do to others what you hope they would do to you, only to have your kindness ignored or even tossed back in your face. Suppose you volunteer to feed, exercise, and even pick up after a friend’s dog when your friend heads out of town. That seems like the loving thing to do. But when you ask your friend to do the same for you, she claims she doesn’t have the time to look after your big, slobbering, mess making doggy.
That’s the kind of treatment that tempts you to quit looking for opportunities to love your friend. But genuine love doesn’t give with a payback in mind. Love gives because it cares about the health, happiness, and growth of others-period. Whether or not its actions or words are appreciated, love keeps on giving. If you refuse to love because someone ignores your love or even mocks it, you’re not loving with the love that comes from God.
REFLECT: When have you loved someone and felt that your kindness was rejected? How did you handle it? In that kind of situation, how can you love like God loves? Are you asking God to help you love as he loves?
PRAY: Lord, help me to love and to keep on loving—like you do—no matter what.
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