Life Filled with Love
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
As human ideologies become more polar, this concept of living a life filled with love is truly becoming a lost art. Today, one must agree with and endorse every single idea and behavior that’s out there or risk being labeled some kind of racist, hate speaking, phobic criminal. But I can say for certain that I certainly can love you even if I don’t agree with you. I learned it from Jesus.
The story of the Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10 really captures my attention when I think about loving people who disagree with me. Jesus really loved that guy. And the guy even went away sad. (See Mark 10:20-22) I like to think that Jesus gave him a lot to think about and that we will see the Rich Young Ruler in heaven when we get there; just because the Bible is silent on his conversion doesn’t mean he didn’t have one later on, right?
Here’s two things to keep in mind for following Jesus’ example of loving people with whom we disagree:
1. Spend time with people and love them, and when they ask you a question about your faith, answer them honestly. A man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?... Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (v.17-21)
2. Realize they might not like your answer and walk away from you. Notice, Jesus did not end the relationship and send him away; he went away, and he went away sad, and Jesus let him go. At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. (v.22)
What’s this got to do with my relationships?
I live my life based on the Word of God. I believe every bit of it, and people who live their lives based on how they feel will not hold my views and I won’t hold theirs. It’s not personal. And I won’t take it personally if they can’t stand to be around me anymore or only tolerate small doses of me. Let them walk away. But don’t let them walk away without giving them the Truth to think about for when they lie awake at night. The most loving thing to do is making sure they know what the Bible teaches not chasing after them till they get it.
I also have lots of family in my life that includes my church family and my extended family. And I don’t agree with every single thing with everyone in these groups either. We are not strangers or colleagues, so we don’t walk away, but we remain in each other’s lives loving one another even if we don’t see eye to eye on every single thing. We keep in mind that God gives all of us different convictions because we all have different hangups, so there is no reason to part ways over non-salvation issues like owning a tv or not. I don’t mind hearing what they think, and I present my case too. And that’s it. It’s done. I pray for them, I’m sure they do the same for me, and we let the Holy Spirit do the rest. If I need to change, God will tell me, and he used a loving person in my life to get my attention and vice versa.
I truly can and do love every person regardless of their lifestyle, but love and endorsement are not synonymous. The problem is that the world has decided that those two words should be synonymous and that is why we have found ourselves in an extremely polarized society that doesn’t know how to live life filled with love!
I pray for my unsaved friends who don’t want to hear from me anymore. That’s ok, but I pray for you to continue to bring people into their lives who will point their attention to you. I thank you that I know the truth -- I know that I don’t hate anyone, and I certainly don’t want to see anyone die in their sins. And I know that I enjoy healthy relationships where I can challenge and be challenged. Thank you for Jesus showing us to tell people about your Word and to keep trusting you no matter what they decide, and I pray in his name, amen.