7/20/15

6 Choices to Love When It Feels 'Impossible"


Sometimes we think someone is just "impossible" to love. Maybe we love the person (down deep), but circumstances make us question that love. Frustrated, maybe even angry, we might say, "I can't do this one minute more!" But ...

If we know Jesus, we can always choose to love.

The Lord modeled Unimaginable Love for us .... "agape" love. The kind of love that sacrifices to save the life of another.

Jesus loved us while we were weak and ungodly (Romans 5:6-8). He was even willing to die for us wretched, unholy sinners, showing His amazing capacity to love (John 15:13; 1 Timothy 2:6). And the truth is:
In Christ, there are many choices to love that we can make.
Making choices to love may sometimes mean "tough love," working harder to express love in ways people might not expect, but ways for their good. All love should be an outpouring of the love of God within our hearts.

So what kind of love can we choose in tough times?

1. Choose Unlimited Love

"...'love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength ... love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:30-31, ESV).

It makes sense that when we wholly love God, our love for others will be more complete. We will love others even as we love ourselves. In fact, we will think more about their needs than our own (Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:3).

The "all" of love for God motivates our unlimited love for others ... and that's amazing!

2. Choose Unselfish Love

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends" (1 Cor. 13:4-8a, ESV).

This familiar "love passage" details many choices love makes. Our enemy tells us it's time to throw in the towel when a friend or loved one acts up or behaves unwisely, but godly love continues to make selfless choices for another's benefit.

And it's persistent too (Love never ends)! Unending forbearance. Unending belief. Unending hope. Unending endurance.

3. Choose Unhindered Love

"A friend loves at all timesand a brother is born for adversity" (Proverbs 17:17, ESV).

Adversity ... struggles ... deep trials ... frustrating circumstances. A loving person comes alongside others in these tough times with understanding, encouragement and practical help.

The "all times" means there is nothing that can hinder the outreach of our godly love.

4. Choose Unveiled Love

"... just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34b-35, ESV).

The amazing truth is that our choice to love—especially in the tough times—is a powerful testimony to the world. We unveil and illustrate Christ's agape love to the world and perhaps whet sinners' appetite for the Savior who embodies such love.

5. Choose Unfailing Love

"Above all things, have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]" (1 Peter 4:8, Amplified).

Love doesn't "cover up" sin in the world's sense of hiding or disguising or even redefining sin; but love does know how to "cover" offenses with forgiveness, extending great grace and mercy.

Sometimes love confronts; 
sometimes love makes new boundaries. 
But always, love keeps flowing.

6. Choose Unreasonable Love

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:43-44, ESV).

Love your enemies? That sounds unreasonable, doesn't it? And sometimes it feels like those "enemies" are in our own house!

But Jesus commands we love with the kind of love that doesn't make sense to the world. We actually pray for our persecutors. We turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39). We go beyond the norm to win an opportunity to show Christ-like love.

So ... what kind of choices to love will you make today?


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