In Part 3 of the Discovering Love series, we ended with the problem of our need to love imperfect people.
My children, I will be with you for a little while longer. Then you will look for me, but you won’t find me. I tell you just as I told the people, “You cannot go where I am going.” But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. – John 13:33-34 (CEV)
Here’s the hook: “just as I have loved you”. Everyone that Jesus loved here on Earth, He loved in spite of an offense against Him. We have all offended God (Rom 3:23). But in spite of that offense, He loved us (John 3:16). We must do likewise. We must forgive offenses. Even as they are happening.
This is the most important path where we must follow Him, even though we hate the thought of it. Many of us want to wait until we’re more mature. We think: “That kind of love is only for the exceptionally spiritual people like Mother Theresa. Once God zaps me with supernatural love and it is easier for me to do it and I don’t have to work it up, then I’ll love through an offense.”
The reality is that love is the foundation of every other spiritual success that we want to attain. It’s no wonder the enemy makes it seem unimportant or too hard. The flashy stuff is better anyway and I feel the success of God’s approval when someone is healed or I prophesy or I proclaim my belief in God to others who are sinners.
Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them. – Romans 12:14 (CEV)
Here’s another point of our culture that we have to watch out for. We’re told “not to repress our feelings. If you don’t like someone, you ought not to repress that because it will come out in other ways.” That is not what the Christian is doing here. We bless someone in spite of our feelings. We continue to pray and forgive. God will change our feelings if we invoke our will to forgive and to bless. God has given us the freedom to love anyone. And there’s nothing they can do about it.