“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one anther. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” ~ Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)
One of the hardest things I struggle with when it comes to people is loving them. How Jesus could be in any crowd and show love is beyond me. I have a hard time showing love to my own pets! It’s easy to love a person who loves us, and it’s a challenge for many of us to love someone who hates us. I especially lack patience making it difficult to treat people the way the verses above mention.
One example is my family. Since I’ve come back from Korea, it has been a long transition including transitioning back into my family. I lose patience easily with my brothers and get angry with my sister over little things. Even with my parents, I admit I have not honored them like I should. I hold grudges and sometimes refuse to ask for forgiveness. The last two nights, I’ve cried to the Lord and asked Him to give me some clarity on what I should do. The next morning, I read these verses over and over again without thinking until they started to sink in. I realized that I lacked all these virtues when I was with my family.
I have learned to love people outside of family even when they did not like me in return. When I was teaching English in Korea, the Lord tore down my pride and brought me to a humble state. He showed me kindness so that I in turn can show it to others. And the Lord is so patient…to everyone. I believe the Lord has set before me the challenge of forgiving my family and to show love rather than falling into anger and frustration. Without love, my family—or any family for that matter—is not united. It makes sense because God is love and if there is no love in the household, there is no God within the household. 1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (NIV). Sometimes we think we know what love is, but when a situation arises that changes our perspective on love, it is hard to see what love is. At the end of chapter 4, John says, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” These are harsh words, but they are filled with truth.
Why should we do these things for people that drive us crazy? Simple: because God loves us. When we show love in ways we never thought we would, we learn more of God and who He is. In other words, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” Can we show greater love than that? No. Only God can.
Who are you struggling to love? People have a tendency to be harder on those closest to them. It’s easier to love a stranger than someone you see all the time. Give it to God and remind yourself daily to love them. We can choose to love or to hate and I think you know which way God is pointing us to. Comment below and let us know what you think. ❤