Imagine that. God has gotten us off the hook. He doesn’t need us to change, correct, judge, or even rule people. All God asks us to do is love them, and not just our brothers and sisters in Christ, but all people. How freeing is that? Now we can get out of other people’s business and just concentrate on our own. That takes a lot of weight off our shoulders being able to turn down our Christian antennas and turn the reigns over to God concerning others and their lives.
I know it is difficult to just let other’s make their own mistakes by allowing them to follow their own free will. But just think about your life before coming to the Lord and AFTER for that matter. We don’t have all the answers, neither do we do everything right. We need God’s love and mercy just as much as the next person, even those unbelievers that need salvation and more.
If we want to draw people to the kingdom of God, it’s going to requiring loving them in. No amount of nagging, scaring, judging, criticizing, and preaching is going to do it. That just turns people off. If what we do and say isn’t motivated by God’s love flowing within us, then we might as well keep our mouths shut. It’s not going to come across right. 2 Corinthians 13 tells us that the most notable acts of sacrifice and service, void of love are worthless.
So how do we love? I think we have made something meant to be so simple, so complicated. We can begin loving others today starting with a warm smile, uplifting thoughts, silent prayers, a kind word, needed support, and gentle guidance. We can love people by accepting them the way that they are without trying to make them conform to our own standards, Biblical or not. If you can’t figure out how to love someone, ask God to put ideas in your heart. True or unconditional love loves for the sake of loving, without expecting anything in return. Agape Love or God’s love is like throwing a handful of rose petals into the sea. The waves or current take the petals in many different directions and we have no idea where each one will end up. Just like love, when we give it freely, we have no idea how God will use it, or what impact it will have in someone’s life. And the best part is that we don’t need to know. We just need to continue loving anyway. When we can let go of the outcome, we can love regardless of someone appreciating our love or not.
God hates sin, but he loves people. God doesn’t want any of us to suffer from the deceitfulness of sin, which has its grip on so many hearts, both saved and unsaved. He hates sin because sin destroys us and separates us from God’s blessings. This is just a spiritual law in the universe. When our hearts are filled with anger, fear, worry, doubt and other toxic emotions, we prohibit God’s light from entering into our lives and our circumstances. The Psalmist said in 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” The word tells us to purify our hearts and renew our minds so that we can abide in Christ and receive all that he has for us. When we lack spiritual blessings, it may be a sign that we’ve allowed spiritual toxins to filter God’s love and light.
As Christians, we know that it is only God that delivers from the power of sin, and that it is His anointing that breaks the yoke of sin in our lives. I believe that anointing stems from the power of God’s love, for God is Love. And Love NEVER fails. (1 Corin. 13:8)
Sometimes love means making hard choices. Not all loving acts appearing loving, especially when it comes to close family and friends. There are times we need to make decisions that may not appear loving on the surface but we know it is in the person’s best interest in the long run. God makes decisions like this everyday. We often react to difficult situations with fear and anxiety, yet God may be using these very circumstances to mature, strengthen, and build our faith, and to take us one step further from where we are to where he ultimately wants us to be. That’s why God tells us that “All things are working together for our highest good.” And Paul said in 1 Peter 4:12, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” Therefore, discipline is a form of love.
In addition, that same love that God wants us to extend to others we must also extend to ourselves. Many of us are our own worst enemy. We put ourselves down. Judge and criticize our actions and behaviors and engage in ongoing negative self talk. We need to give ourselves a break. If we could be perfect, Jesus didn’t have to die for us. God knows we’re going to mess up sometimes, but he didn’t leave us hanging. He just tells us to confess our sins so we can be cleansed and healed, even if we ask God to forgive us 144 times, for the exact same thing! God wants us to love ourselves and others. He made it clear when he told his disciples to love the Lord thy God with all their heart and strength and then love your neighbor as yourself. God didn’t leave any one out of the loving circle.
We also aren’t loving to ourselves when we allow others to physically or mentally abuse or use us. Yet there is a fine line here because you can suffer for the cause of Christ. You have to determine if God put you here for a reason or if you are just in an abusive situation of your own doing. If God has placed you in a place of testing, He will also give you the love, faith, wisdom, patience, and determination to stand until the end as you put on the His spiritual armor. This isn’t about becoming someone’s victim but being an overcomer in Christ and standing until you see your victory. You must decide if you want to live on the offense or the defensive. Whether you will be a fighter (in love) or a whimp.
As I have drawn closer to the Lord through spending time with him, my desires to judge, rule, control, label, or persuade others has greatly diminished. I know that all people are on a spiritual path, that God knows their heart, and that he will lead them in is own way and time, just like he did me. The Bibles says that “No man comes to God unless the spirit of God draws Him.” That doesn’t mean God won’t use us to share our testimony, declare the truth, or witness to someone, but we do this out of the leading of the Spirit, as well as a spirit of Love, for it to be effective or have any lasting value. People come to the Lord as he draws them, never coerce or pressured.
Paul said, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” It is not until people experience the genuine love of God in our hearts that they will be ready to embrace the message of the gospel that unfortunately has been overshadowed by mean, critical, judgmental Christianity that alienates instead of draws others in, the very opposite of God’s intent. Even Jesus said, I came not to judge the world, but to save it. His mission on Earth was one of faith, hope, and healing. I believe that God’s Love is the greatest and most transformative power available to us, but we must employ it. Only love will set the world free.