When's the last time you told someone you loved them, and meant it?
It's easy to tell lovable people we love them. It's advantageous to tell some people we love them. But there are certain individuals that can be rather difficult to love.
1 Peter 1:22 says that Christ followers should "love one another deeply from the heart." Some versions use the word fervently in place of deeply. The idea behind this word is stretched to the limit. Have you ever stretched your love to the limit? Like I said, it's easy to love people who are easy to love.
Sometimes we are forced to work with, live with, interact with people that we can't seem to love. We find it very difficult. The argument usually goes something like this: "I try to love him, but he just doesn't do his part." Or "I'm tired of being the only one who is trying."
When I think about love, God's definition, not our own, I have a hard time accepting those kinds of arguments. Romans 5:8 is a statement of God's definition of love. We didn't deserve it. We weren't lovable. In fact, we were so lost in our own sin that we didn't even know we needed His love. But He loved us anyway.
If that is our example, then there really are no excuses for not loving others. "Love one another deeply from the heart." A love stretched to capacity. A love that we could never give in our own power.
It's one thing to say it, but how do we do it? I have some practical ideas that I'll share next time. In the mean time, what do you think? What are some ways we can show God's love to those who are most difficult to love?