We've all heard it so many times that “you can love people, but you don’t have to like them.” But I don’t know if that’s really true.
I deeply believe that we are meant to love those around us, but somewhere along the line, the way we've started to see love has been boiled down to a couple of kind actions or taking the higher road when we’re wronged.
But love isn’t simply doing the right thing, it's a heart position.
Love is a heart position
It’s the way that we think about people and how we actually feel about them. It’s seeing people the way God sees them and allowing God to show you his heart for them. It’s allowing God to overwhelm you with a deep appreciation and genuine love for those in front of you.
And from that place, our actions will follow.
John 13:34-35 says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
He’s talking about a deep, tangible love that is so strong that it compels us to lay down our lives for the sake of others. It’s isn’t self-seeking or self-focused. A love that deeply appreciates others and only wants what’s best for them.
And when we love people like that, all the other things that Jesus calls us to, like having patience, compassion, and grace for those around us will become so simple. It will become a natural outflow in our lives.
It starts with God
Saying all of that though, this shouldn't create pressure, and it's not to create guilt if we don't feel like that about people. It’s merely a calling to step deeper into relationship with Jesus, then he can create love within us.
I think we can only love people, to the degree in which we know we are loved. If we don’t know our value and who we are created to be, if we don’t know love or how much we are loved, we will never be able to show love.
John chapter 1, verse 4:19 says “we love because he first loved us”, and in John 1 chapter 4, verse 7, it say’s “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” In these verses, he’s saying, that to love others, we first need to know God’s love.
That takes all the pressure off. Now we don’t have to act a certain way or to do a specific thing, instead, as we get to know God and ask him to show us how he sees people, we will naturally feel and show love for everyone.
Feeling the flow
Love will naturally flow from us in everything we do. It won’t be something that we have to strive for or try really hard to be good at. It’ll be the overflow of the love that God’s placed in our hearts.
Our example is God himself; he knows what it is to love because he is love. His love for us isn’t just a group of actions, it’s how he sees us, thinks about us, and an overwhelming love deep in his heart for us.
That’s the kind of love I want to have for others, that deep, heart recking love that we see in him. And the more he does that in my heart, the easier it becomes to really, deeply care about them.
Loving people becomes so simple when we really love them.
Laura Wood is a new writer who lives on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. She’s quiteadventurous, loves people, and is passionate about Jesus.