Often when we hear the word "love," we automatically think of a romantic kind of love or something like a mother-daughter or father-son type of love. When talking about loving someone in terms of the Bible though, it's not the "Nicholas Sparks" kind of love or the "I love you because I have to" kind of love—it's agape love, the sacrificial love of God.
Love is talked about many, many times in the Bible. Jesus actually commanded us to love one another. He said that the single most important commandment was to love the Lord your God, and the second was to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39, Mark 12:29-31). Your "neighbor" refers to anyone around you—your classmates, coworkers, people like that. Oh, and don't forget those living around you, like your actual neighbors.
A great passage from 1 John 4 talks about loving each other. Verse 11 says, "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." The Apostle John is telling us to increase our responsibility to love one another. "If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also" (v. 20-21).
This passage is pretty much pointing out that if can't even love the people around us when we can see them, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? John shows that it is impossible for us to love God without loving other people; the two have to go hand in hand.
Every human being is created in God's image (Genesis 1:27). Every human is His masterpiece, and when we insult them, we are ultimately insulting God's creation and thereby the Creator. But that doesn't change the fact that we aren't going to get along with everybody. So how can we possibly love those we don't really care for? Here are a few suggestions:
The next time you see that girl who gets on your nerves or the boy who knows how to push your buttons, think of them as how God sees them: His masterpiece creations. You don't have to be their best friend. You may not ever be able to fully respect them. And that's okay.
But as Christians, we still must love all people—no matter who they are. Try to talk to them or say hi. Maybe all they need is a little of God's love. Don't we all?
Even though some people are hard to love (or even like), as Christians, we still must show love, compassion, and forgiveness to all people—no matter who they are (Matthew 22:37-39; Mark 12:29-31; 1 John 4:11). Every human being is created in God's image (Genesis 1:27) and is His masterpiece; when we insult them, we're insulting the Creator. Maybe all that person needs is a little of God's love. Seriously, don't we all?
Stephanie is an 18-year old with a love for the Lord. In her free time, she can be found singing, playing guitar, or writing. She can also be found jamming out to her favorite artists such as Hawk Nelson, Rend Collective, and Phil Wickham. Her dreams are to become a worship leader and a published author, while living a life full of fun and joy that comes from the Lord.