"If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?" (Matthew 5:46).
Loving others is one of the hardest things a Christian can do. Without the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, we will struggle to love the undesirable and to forgive those who have hurt us. Love for one another is a sign that we have been cleansed of our sins. It is a sign that we belong to God and are obeying God. Love is not merely a feeling, but an act of the will submitted to Christ.
James sums it up like this: "If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers" (James 2:8-9). It's easy to love those who love us—but loving the unlovable, loving the ungrateful, loving the undeserving, and loving with no expectations are acts of true, sincere Christian love. The world is full of the kind of love that takes and seldom gives. Our love ought not to be like that—it should be rich, full, and bountiful.
The one thing that makes the world sit up and take notice is seeing Christians love as Christ loved. But as long as we judge and criticize one another as the world does, we will have no impact on the world. As Chaplaincy volunteers we have the calling and privilege to minister love to a large variety of survivors we come in contact with. And, as we live our daily lives in our communities and churches - we can show forth the mark of a true Christian - love.
How is God calling you to love radically today? Is He asking you to pray for someone who has hurt you or to extend the hand of friendship to an unlikely person? Pray today that God will reveal a new opportunity for you to show His great kindness and mercy. When He shows it to you, obey!
Prayer: Lord, give me the courage to love and forgive as You do, even when it is inconvenient or uncomfortable. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.