Galatian 5:13,14. AMPC. “For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another. For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is complied with in the one precept, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.” (Lev 19:18; Mt 5:43-46; Gal 5:19… more!)
Jesus is clear that there are no exceptions. “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, to show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven…”
We must learn and practice this in the simple times, when the “enemies” the Lord places in our life are, shall we say, easy targets. Christ love is not just for when it’s easy, when I feel like it, or when it’s convenient. The times when it challenges our feelings, perhaps even to the very core of our being, will be the ultimate tests – that we are not running on the fuel of ordinary human love, but on the Love of Jesus Christ Himself, because the circumstances will call for that.
The little practices that lead to such things? When one’s spouse is sour and moody. Intend love. When the cat is inordinately demanding attention and whiny. Intend love. (Yes, even pets are there to be loved as God loves us! And often show far greater devotion to this than their human keepers.) Someone calls at an inconvenient time and needs to talk, when the talking for them may be in that moment an expression of their loneliness. Intend love. Exercise patience. Transcend self by tuning in to their need.
The Savior says, Whatever you have done to the least of these, you have done it unto Me! We really need to let that sink in.
What the Gospel calls us to is to love as God loves, reflecting His image, and increasing in His likeness. No exceptions. No excuses. No additions, deletions, or corrections. The good news is that Christ has set us free to love as He loves, unconditionally, and He has empowered us to do the same by His very own Holy Spirit within us.
A wonderful video someone sent today on reconciliation (“coincidentally”?) that dovetails nicely with the foregoing thoughts.
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