Does the “Who” change the quality or level of Love from YOU?

Matthew 5:43-48 New International Version (NIV)

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Back of Girls Staring into distance

Have you ever witnessed someone receiving special treatment because of who they are? Maybe the pretty girl buying popcorn at the movies didn’t pay full price.  All because the young man behind the counter was trying to get her attention.  When we think of special treatment, we almost always think of it in a positive way. It’s not always the case. I remember hearing a story about a boy riding the school bus, who was beat up by some other boys just because of his last name. He was certainly receiving specific and different treatment, but it wasn’t good.

People with disabilities receive special treatment to accommodate their handicap.  We change the height of toilets, sinks & put in ramps for wheelchairs. Sometimes they’re also treated differently out of sympathy. Those without disability may look at them sadly as if to say “You poor thing”.  I don’t think most people with disabilities like that. There’s a great TEDtalk about it here.

In the movie The King’s Speech, Lionel Logue insisted on an equal relationship with King George VI when they were working together. When Prince Albert became King, he became known as George the VI.  His full name was Albert Frederick Arthur George. While he was prince, he went by Albert.  Lionel called him Bertie. He even went as far as to say, “My castle, my rules”. Lionel knew that in order for him to be able to really help, When they were working, Albert needed to be a student. Lionel realized that Their sessions together needed to be based on who he was, not on the fact that his student was royalty.

As believers, we too, need to make it a point to treat others based upon who we are, not who they are. In the verses above, Jesus points out how that in the world, the natural tendency is to respond to each other based upon who the other person is. Is he an enemy? Is she a friend? Is he rich? Is he or poor? Is she pretty?

All these things come into play when people are navigating through social interaction in this world. Not so with the church. Jesus said “Love your enemies & pray for those that persecute you”. We do this because we are children of God. Not for gain. Not to impress, or to exert influence, but because God commands it and it’s in us to do.

God loved us when we were His enemies. His love was made clear to us when we were opposing Him. God commends His love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)

If you are a child of God, the Love of God has been shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit which has been given to you (Rom 5:5). This means that the Love of God is on the inside of every believer.  We just need to begin to mature in it.

Some might say “I really love God! He an I are tight! It’s just all those creepy people I have to deal with…I can hardly stand them.” Sorry – It doesn’t work that way. If you love Him, the main way it is shown is by loving people. Especially your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Even though the Love of God be in you, It needs to be perfected. In other words, you still need to develop in it. We need to allow it to grow in us and dominate our thinking , speaking and actions. You can have this love in you and completely ignore it. You can quench it. You can yield to your temper and feelings instead – when all the while, the Love of God is on the inside endeavoring to influence you. It’s up to us what we let influence us. The Love of God or our carnal feelings, desires & emotions.

So – we as Christians are to be governed by the Love of God inside us and let it flow out of us to those around us. We shouldn’t operate out of prejudice, favoritism, or selfishness. Rather, we can be resources and examples of God’s love in our daily life and make a real difference for others.

I want to encourage you today to yield to God’s Love. It may be hard if you’re not used to submitting to it. The more you develop in it, the easier it will come.

How can you put this into practice this week?  Is there a specific person you can intentionally love?

Join the conversation & leave a comment.

Art

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