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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Love Your Neighbor...Unconditionally

“Owe no one anything except to love another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” ”You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8-10

True love, love that comes from a pure and unconditional place, will never steer you wrong. That is not to say you will never get hurt…life is not easy or pain-free and because of sin it never will be. However, love will heal, love will guide, and love will overcome when love is true and when it is applied to all areas of your life.

God is love and love is from God. No one can show you what genuine love is like our heavenly Father can. If you strive to reflect His love everywhere and in everything you do, you will reap the rewards. No you’re not more likely to win the lottery. I’m pretty sure it’s not going to make you famous or an instant overnight success. It might not even make everyone like you – some people have had so little love in their life that it turns them away to encounter someone who lives love.

Love’s reward is inside you. The feeling you get from acting in pure love, from showing love to those around you, is irreplaceable by any other thing (or person) in this world. It’s rewarding, but not in the sense we have come to know in this sin-filled, get-your-fifteen-minutes-of-fame world…love is the “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” kind of rewarding. It’s a peaceful, comforting reward that gives you a warm feeling of content.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not encouraging you to love because of what it can do for you. Love “does not seek its own…” (From I Corinthians 13:5). What I am saying is that there is an unavoidable benefit to loving unconditionally and loving your neighbor. All of your neighbors in this world.

You don’t even have to take my word for it, try it yourself. Give yourself time, a good bit of time, and start small. Choose one person in your life to love unconditionally. No matter how they behave, no matter what they say, do, or how they treat you, make all of your interactions with them come from love. True love, love that does not expect anything in return and does not require anything from the recipient. Journal through it if that helps. Over time you should notice a difference. Maybe not in how the other person acts, but in how you feel.

Some might say that my personal quest to love my neighbor has led me astray, gotten me hurt time and again. They tell me I am too trusting and I try too hard to see the good in everyone. I don’t try to see the good, I see it. We all have good in us because we are all loved and made in the image of God, who is love. Seeing their good may cloud my ability to see ulterior motives or bad intentions on their part but in the end I know there is good in each and every person and in love I forgive and move on. Well, I try my best – I am after all a sinner and only human.

I have a lot on my mind this week and I may ramble more than usual but… Pray with me?

Heavenly Father,
Thank You for showing us love. Real, true, genuine and unconditional love. Please forgive me for the times I have fallen short of Your love and for the people I have let down by not showing them love as You have shown me. Help me to love my neighbor, and to do so unconditionally. Lord, where I cannot heal with love, please share Your healing, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to all who need You. Protect those who protect us and please let them never forget they are never alone because they are loved and because You are always with each and every one of us. Please may Your will be done, not mine. I ask this all in the name of Your one and only son, Jesus. Amen.

Have a love filled weekend and an even better week ahead! May God’s love surround you and fill your heart.

All my love through Christ,

Niki