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Love

Let me begin this post with a special note. If you are reading this and you have been hurt, offended, annoyed, frustrated, etc. By a person or church or multiple people or multiple churches who claim to be followers of Jesus I am truly sorry. On occasion there are simple misunderstanding or miscommunication that cause this however most of the time it is a result of someone or group claiming to be a follower of Jesus but not taking seriously how Jesus commands his followers to live. I have been in the same boat as you, I have been offended, hurt, annoyed, frustrated, and the list could go on and on many time by many people claiming to be followers of Jesus (whether they actually are or not is not the point). Please however do not immediately dismiss these discussions because of previous experience because we are in the same boat in that regard. I do honestly understand, and may I dare say, I understand more then you could ever know.

The message and life of Jesus continually focuses around love. Jesus tells us himself that the greatest commandments are to love God and love other people. Jesus demonstrated an amazing type of love throughout his entire life through the miracles he performed. In Romans Chapter 12 verses 9 – 18 we learn about love and how that type of love can look in our lives. As you can read in the previous post, if you have met the King that I have met you would want to respond by at least obeying the two commandments he tells us our the most important. Jesus even tells us that by obeying his commandments we show him that we love him. So we are suppose to love God and love other people. I will discuss in more detail the idea of loving God tomorrow but today let us focus on loving other people. We see in the passage what love looks like, and to be honest with you it is a little bit intimidating to me because the first thing I think about are all the times I did not live like that. However, it gives us something to shoot for.
Ok it tells us that love must be sincere, well hello, that makes sense. To truly love someone you must actually love them. Love does not mean being nice because you are suppose to, it has more to do with the idea of selflessness. When I truly love someone I put their needs before my own making my interest in their life sincere. On the contrary, if life is all about me and what is going on in my life then my interest in others is either self serving (to get something out of it) or is a nuisance.
The next line is interesting because it tells to hate evil and cling to what is good. So love others then also means it is not ok to sit by and allow evil to occur. That is interesting because it means it is not ok for us to turn a blind eye to things that are wrong, but to truly love we must hate evil so that we become active parts of bringing the good into peoples lives. That is one that just takes time to think about for a while. Do I truly hate evil? Do I hate some evil, but not certain types of evil? Do I cling to good in a way that brings good to others?
Then the topic is brought up of loving others with a brotherly love. This is another interesting thought I think because it challenges us to take our relationships with people to a deeper level. Do you love other people to the point that they become like a brother or sister to you in the way you view them. Would I open my home if one of my coworkers needed a place to stay for a little while? I would open my home for my brother. I would do anything to help my brother and sister. Would I do anything to help the guy who lives across the street? This takes loving others to a whole new level.
The rest of the passage discusses how we should make ourselves available to others. When someone is struggling then be strong for that person. When someone's husband dies, cry with that widow and pray with and for her and make dinner for her and help her clean her house, and on and on and on. It just discusses the way we know we should act and treat others if only we had enough time or money or whatever.
Notice however that never is that an option for us to do more when our schedule opens up, or do more for people when we get a raise. The truth is we are called to love other people; to love them here and now; to love them today however we can with whatever we have. If you read the previous post this will make sense in light of that message. Jesus brings the kingdom of God to earth for all people to experience and be a part of. The questions for us are: Have I met Jesus and experienced life in a new way that Jesus calls the Kingdom of God? If I have, am I showing others what life can be like by truly loving them?
If you have any specific topics you would like me to cover or specific biblical passages then please let me know and I will address them at some point. I hope this gives each reader something to think about and I hope you would include your thoughts to this discussion.

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