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Friday, March 22, 2013

How to Love

I confess.  I am flawed.  Sometimes I remember.  But usually I forget.  I've been saved now for almost 4 years.  It is hard to believe I've had a relationship with Christ for that long.  In some ways, it seems like it has been ages.  In other ways, it seems like it was just yesterday when I was convicted of my sins.
To this day, it still amazes me that with that incredible decision my life completely transformed, yet I continue to struggle with many of my old ways.
As I walk past someone I know is doing "wrong" this I mean, when I walk by someone I know is using illegal substances, or terrorizing people (they smile in my face, but I know what they're up to)...I feel my nose going up as the judgment oozes. 
Jesus said, "'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Matthew 22:39.  This has been on my mind lately.  He first said to love God with all of our heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37).  Then He told us to love our neighbor as we love our self.  This one, He said is just as important to the first commandment.    
If I am loving others as Jesus said to, as I love myself, why am I turning my nose up at them and passing judgment?  When did I become so perfect???  And when did all of my flaws go away?  
Is that me being a reflection of Jesus?  No way...That's me being a reflection of a religious person.  This is what happens when I forget that I too am flawed.
1 John 4:20 takes it a step further stating, that if I say I love God, but I hate my brother, I am a liar.  Because how can I love God, who I have not seen, and hate my brother who I have seen. 
Now I'm more convicted.  Am I a liar?  Do I really not love God?  And how can I possibly love everyone all the time?  Especially those people that get on my nerves????
It all seems so hopeless when I think of it, and measure my own abilities.  But alas, here's the hope: Jesus.  Philippians 4:13 spells it out for me.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 
Jesus gives us hope, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." Mark 10:27.  He is our hope.  When He gave us this commandment, He didn't do it to trick us.  He meant for us to follow it.  But He also knew that this was impossible for us to do on our own.  If we could do it on our own, why would we need Him?  If we don't feel like we need Him, why on earth would we bother having a relationship with Him?
But He wants a relationship with us.  He desires that more than anything.  And He gives a way out.  Because He knows we cannot love as we're called to in our own strength, He offers His.  All we need to do is ask. 
So now when I see some of those individuals I know that when I ask God to examine my heart and give me His eyes to see them, I am able to see something amazing.  God's creation that He loves more than I'm able to comprehend.  So much so that He sent His one and only son to die for. 

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