Loving others like we love ourselves is a pretty high calling. One that I struggle with on a daily basis. It’s even hard to love my husband in this way, the one I committed my life to and vowed to love. And my children? I would give my life for them in a heartbeat. But what about when they disobey, ignore my instructions, crack eggs all over the kitchen floor, and get out of bed multiple times before finally settling down?
Loving others is exhausting.
Why? Shouldn’t it just be easy? Shouldn’t it be a simple overflow of the Love that God has given to us?
Yes. And no.
Christian love “is exhausting because it’s exhaustive.”
These words, spoken by our Pastor yesterday in his sermon have been running through my mind since I heard them. He was preaching from the first 12 verses of 1 Peter 3, verses that I’m familiar with, but yesterday they sank in a bit deeper.
Christians should be marked by a different kind of love. Love that Peter defines this way:
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” 1 Peter 3:8
Unity of mind – pursuing peace with others, characterized by forgiveness.
Sympathy – consistently acting in compassion toward others.
Brotherly love – sacrificial, giving, unconditional, expecting nothing in return, deep affection.
Tender heart – putting my self in someone else’s shoes and truly weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice.
Humble mind – thinking of others first.
These are the characteristics of the love that should be evident in our lives.
But Peter doesn’t stop here. He goes on to say:
“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called...” 3:9
Sometimes loving others is costly because not only may we receive nothing in return, we might even receive hatred or suffering.
But this is what we’ve been called to. It’s a command. It’s a privilege.
Because it provides us the opportunity to show a lost and hurting world how Jesus can transform our hearts to value others in the way that He has valued us.
If you’re like me, you will be tired after reading this list. Because it encompasses every aspect of our lives. Our speech, our conduct, our thoughts, the very ways that we value others.
There is good news for our weary souls: We are not left to do this on our own.
First of all, God has shown His love to us in the gift of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.
It is out of this love that we are able to then love others.
Secondly, we’ve been given the Holy Spirit who instructs, guides, convicts, and enables us to live righteously. This includes giving us power to love, to think of others first, and to give unconditionally.
So, for my girls? I want them to be transformed by the love of God and then depend upon the work of the Spirit in their lives to love well.
This is Day 26 of a series “Lessons for my Daughters”. Click here for a complete list of posts.