“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all thing, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” –1 Corinthians 13:4-8
In a world where love has been twisted and changed, it can be hard to look past the world’s contorted definition of love to what true love really is. When God created love, He created it to be a decision we make. But, the world has changed the definition of love to mean selfish feelings rather than selfless choices. For example, the world tells us to only love those who love us and to hate those who hate us. But Jesus tells us to do the exact opposite. He says, “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”(Matthew 5:44) To some, this may seem an impossible task. How are we supposed to love, bless, and pray for the people who hate us? This is what sets God’s love apart from the world’s love. God’s love helps us do the impossible. Where the world says that loving your enemies is impossible, God says that it is possible with His love. We have to make the decision to love our enemies, and when we do, God’s love will pour from our lives into those of our enemies.
Jesus is a perfect example of what true love looks like. During His life on earth, He lived out His own command of loving your enemies. In fact, He loved His enemies so much that He died for them. We often forget that when Jesus died on the cross, He not only died for those who loved Him, but for those who hated Him. He died for the soldiers who hammered nails into His hands and feet. He died for the Pharisees who had spit upon him (Matthew 27:29-30). He died for the people who laughed at Him and mocked Him as he hung in agony on the cross (Matthew 27:39-44). On that day, when Jesus bore all the sins of the whole world, He showed us what true love looks like. Love is living your life as a servant to all. It is laying down your own desires for those of others. It is thinking about others feelings and hurts rather than your own. And all these acts of love are choices that each one of us must make. Will we live our lives loving others the way Jesus did or only thinking about ourselves?
When you live out Jesus’ command in your life, you are shining as a light in a world flooded with darkness (Matthew 13:43). You are obeying Jesus’ command to love. And whenever you get discouraged, just remember the example Jesus left for us when He died, not only for those who loved Him, but also for those who hated Him, because that is true love.