Devotional – Opting Out of Love

1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

I was reflecting this morning on how it feels to be loved. There are people in life who radiate the love of Christ. It absolutely seeps out of their very pores. It’s infectious, overpowering and wonderful to see. When you are with them, you can feel that they care. These are the people in your life who never have a harsh word to say about anyone, they give of themselves freely and fully yet never make you feel that it’s a hardship for them to do so. I have several friends who are amazing in this way, and it never ceases to impress me. I come away from my time with them feeling peaceful and filled up with joy and love. How can I become more like that?

1 John chapter 4 has a lot to say about love, and most of it is about how we should shower God’s boundless love on others. Really when you think about it, how can we NOT love others? God gave us the gift of His son. He held nothing back to save us and make us His own. He lavished love and grace on us. Us! We were the most undeserving, ungrateful, selfish, needy, petty, negative, jealous, contentious, envious, hateful, flat-out desperate people – and yet God saw past all of it and loved us. So where do I get off being unloving because someone hurt my feelings? How do I manage to justify my sarcasm and spiteful remarks because that person just “rubs me the wrong way”.

The Bible is pretty clear. Love. It’s not a choice. It’s not only applicable on Valentine’s Day. I don’t get to opt out of it. Loving others will flow naturally out of a heart that’s full of Christ. Actually, 1 John goes so far to say that if we don’t love, we don’t really know God – because He is love. I guess the saying “to know him is to love him” could be reworked here. To know God is to love others. Others including the guy you work with who has the social skills of a beetle (and looks like one too). Or the neighbor who plays their metal rock at 11 o’clock at night so loudly you’ve memorized the guitar riff. The gal who stole your idea and pitched it to the boss herself  needs love too. God puts us into the lives of others to be His love to them. All of them. He didn’t exclude anyone from the gift of His son, so what makes us think we get to pick and choose who to pass His love on to.

Lord, help me to love those around me today. Especially the ones I don’t think deserve it.

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