Loving others when they don’t believe the same things we do can be difficult, but we can learn how to love them just as they are. Every one of us in the deepest part of our hearts longs to be loved and accepted just the way we are, so why is it so hard for us to extend that kind of love to others? I believe it’s because most of us don’t truly feel loved unconditionally. When we finally grasp and truly understand how fully and unconditionally our Heavenly Father loves us we can start to reach out to others with that love. We can learn to love others that have beliefs that don’t line up with our own, because we are loved in all of our brokenness.
Loving others means that we sometimes have to work to meet them where they are, just like Jesus meets us where we are. It is so very hard for us mere mortals to love unconditionally. We say that we do, but most times when a person makes a decision we disagree with we withdrawal our love from them. We can choose to love others regardless of what they believe. Loving others doesn’t mean that we agree with every choice they make. 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 says, “13 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. This is God’s definition of love, but it seems to have been lost on us somewhere along the way. Sadly, we Christians do not have a reputation for being very loving. I know that I spent many years as a judgmental, angry Christian surrounded by many who acted the same way. Who would want to join a group of unloving, angry people?
I look back on my life and think about all the times I blamed God for my circumstances and marvel at His love throughout the time I had turned my back on Him. Having a God who loves me and meets me where I am, how can I possibly go around treating others the way I do? When we meet others where they are we are truly showing love the way Jesus modeled it for us. Let’s make it our mission to show others what real love is!
Who can you show love to today?