Love, instruct, honor, accept, greet, bear with, serve, forgive, submit to, admonish, encourage, pray for, be devoted to, spur on, live in harmony with, confess your sins to, agree with, fellowship with, build up, wait for and have equal concern for one another. According to the Bible, these commands are not optional – we are to be living out the “one anothers” in our daily lives. It takes time and effort and often, an attitude shift, doesn’t it? Let’s face it – the “one anothers” are tough.
I’ve been thinking about this for the past few days as I have served my sister in law. Nothing was more important to me than to take this opportunity to love Kathy. It’s been three difficult days for her and yesterday was the worst. Two visits to the emergency room, a lot of disappointment, real fatigue, some big tears and more IV attempts. We got home late from the hospital and both of us were exhausted.
After a good long sleep, Kathy woke up rested and encouraged. This morning went well, so that was my cue to come home. When I left, her husband was taking breaks between the loads of laundry, leftover lasagna was the dinner plan and there were a couple of “relationship” movies to keep Kathy occupied for a while.
As I was driving back to Beaverton, I became rather philosophical and started thinking about this question: “Is it really possible to love your neighbour as yourself?” The reality is that we are all very committed to taking care of ourselves. We expend most of our energy getting through our days and often, there isn’t much left to give to others, right? I don’t think loving others well is very natural – I am constantly challenged when I think of the 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 explanation of love. Sometimes I do it well..more often, I don’t.
I think loving well is a learned behavior and a response of obedience to God. Although there is great joy in loving others, it’s hard to be “others centered” when life demands so much of each of us. Life offers us ample practice opportunities but sometimes, it boils down to good old obedience and trusting God with the outcome.
I want to love others well – no wrong motives – and with God’s grace, once in a while, it happens.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.The second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30,31