Summary: We tend to view love as a warm fuzzy feeling reserved for a select few of our friends and family. However, God calls us to a life of holy love – a love founded on His love for us and built with decisive actions instead of feelings.
When I was in school studying to become a pastor, a fellow student said, “Church work would be a lot easier if it weren’t for people.”
Me (my dilemma or question)
I laughed at my friend’s statement – church work is about people. Pastors work with people day in and day out.
Here are a few of the places in the Bible that tell us how to relate to each other.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Rom 12:10-11
Live in harmony with one another. Rom 12:16
Stop passing judgment on one another Rom 14:13
Accept one another … just as Christ accepted you Rom 15:7
Serve one another in love. Gal 5:13
Be patient, bearing with one another in love Eph 4:2
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph 4:32
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Eph 5:21
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Col 3:13
Encourage one another and build each other up 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Do not slander one another. James 4:11
Love one another deeply, from the heart. 1 Peter 1:22
Live in harmony with one another; 1 Peter 3:8
Do not lie to each other Col 3:9
Live in peace with each other 1 Thessalonians 5:13
Always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else 1 Thessalonians 5:15
Keep on loving each other Heb 13:1
Don’t grumble against each other James 5:9
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed James 5:16
Above all, love each other deeply 1 Peter 4:8
These verses clearly tell us that the reason we exist as a congregation is to share Jesus’ love with each other.
We (our common ground on this)
On the other hand, we’ve all had days when we wished the people we’re to love were more loveable. Sometimes we grate on each other’s nerves. We try one another’s patience and the last feeling we have for each other is warm and fuzzy.
How can flawed individuals like you and me carry out Jesus’ command to love each other? What do we do when we don’t feel like loving someone?
God (what the Bible says about this)
Jesus had days when the people he came to love and care for were difficult and frustrating.
34 [One day] when the [conservative Bible scholars] heard that [Jesus] had silenced the [liberal Bible scholars] with his reply, they thought up a fresh question of their own to ask him. 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40 NLT)