Fresh Hope – 30th July 2020

Jesus made it clear that our number one priority as Christians is quite simply to LOVE – to love God first and then to love people (Matthew 22:36-40). Most of us are okay with the idea of loving people, until it is hard to love people. 

It is easy for us to love people when they are like us. It is easy for us to love people when they agree with us. It is easy to love people when they look like us, talk like us, and understand us. 

But can we love when it isn’t easy to love? How deep is your love? When does your capacity to love like Christ loves reach its threshold? Is it when someone doesn’t agree with you? It is when someone backstabs you? Is it when someone treats you unfairly? Is it when someone acts differently to you? Is it when things aren’t going well for you? Is that when you reach your limit to love?

Can I challenge us, myself included, today, to push the boundaries of our love capacity? Get uncomfortable. Love, honour and bless people not just when it’s easy, but when it challenges you to the core. Go out of your way, against your feelings and natural instinct, and love people when they do what aggravates you. 

What is love? 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and alwaysperseveres. Love never fails’. 

Can you be patient when people test your patience? – Because that is what it means to love! 

Can you be kind to people who are not kind to you? – Because that is what it means to love! 

Can you celebrate others, rather than get jealous? – Because that is what it means to love!

Can you take a posture of humility around others?   –Because that is what it is to love!

Can you honour others who may have dishonoured you? – Because that is what love is!

Can you seek out the needs of others – when they’re not thinking about you? Because that is what it means to love!

Can you forgive those who have wronged you? – Because that is what it means to love!

Modeling how it is done, let’s look at Jesus. At the moment of his arrest, on the cusp of his cruixification, carrying the weight of all the sin of humanity, in that moment, he loved. Malchus was the servant of the Jewish High Priest Caiaphas who participated in the arrest of Jesus.One of the disciples, Simon Peter, being armed with a sword, cut off the servant’s ear in an attempt to prevent the arrest of Jesus. Jesus’ response was to stop for the one. Stop, even in a personally and spiritually heavy time for him, and love on a servant. Jesus healed Malchus’ ear in that moment. In a moment where he could have easily had his mind on other things. Right to the end, his mission was clear – to love. Can we say the same for ourselves? Can WE love people who come even against us? 

This seems radical. But, HELLO, that is the kingdom of God!

We aren’t going to look any different from the world, if we also just love others to the extent that they love us, or as long as they don’t offend us, or keep us happy. If this is the depth of our love, then we are no different from a world that does not know the love of God. Anyone can love people when they are loveable. It is perhaps the irrational, illogical love of God towards others that will truly set us apart. 

Let’s get some depth in our love. Let’s get some maturity in our love! Let’s not love based on feelings. Let’s love based on Jesus’ model.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.