As Christians, we are called to love one another, because this is how the world will know that we are His disciples (Jn 13:35).
The question is, what about those that are not Christians?
The love that Jesus proposed, and demonstrated to us, is way deeper than our own natural inclinations.
“43 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," (Mt 5:43-44)
It is easy to love those whose names are in the Lamb's Book of Life (Rev 21:27) with ours, sometimes even they can irritate us, but what Jesus tells us to do is to love those that are still under God's wrath!
It is so easy to say that we love God, but how do we prove that? By being zealous? Even zeal can be contrary to God, and be misplaced! John was clear in 1 Jn 4:20-21 that if we claim to love God but do not love our fellow Christians, then we are liars! Just a quick question: How do you measure up against this verse? Jesus made it practical. If your brother comes to you at night and asks for bread, do you send him off with a pat on the back telling him that everything will look much better when the sun rises in the morning?
So, you may measure up well in the love-other-Christians stakes. What about non-Christians? Do you love them? Or are you like the priest and the Levite in the parable of the good Samaritan that simply walked past a man with severe injuries. Are you a true neighbour to those around you? (Lk 10:25-37)
33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.
34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”
37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Lk 10:33-37)
Do you show mercy to those around you? It definitely is something that I fall short in. I have to remind myself daily that I need to show love to those around me, especially when I am driving. Where I get most irritated is where I need to practice mercy and show God's love the most!
Love is perpendicular. If we claim that we love God, but do not love others, we do not have God's love! Proof of our vertical love for God, is our horizontal love for our neigbour! Hence, the perpendicularity of God's love in our hearts.
It isn't easy, but is is necessary. I have received the love of God freely; I need to show others the love of God freely.
I did not deserve the love of God, why should others have to deserve my love, then?
Where do you battle with showing God's love and mercy? How have you learnt to love others?