But, How Do We Love?

Here’s a question to answer:

Do we love (someone/others) because (______________ ) (fill in the blank)?

When first falling in love with someone, can it be “like breathing?”

Because of great “chemistry?”

 

Or,  do we love (someone/others) although (______________) (fill in the blank)?

Often, the thought that “we love although” happens when others hurt us.

I put that question in a search engine to see if it had been addressed elsewhere online, but after going seven pages deep, I did not find that exact phrase, however, I did find something close to it.  Lo and behold, it was written at a link to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website.

The question was written specifically, but the answer was more valuable because it was written as a general answer to that person’s question.

Here is a copy of the question:

I’ve heard that the Bible tells us to love others, but everyone in our family agrees that one of our cousins is impossible to love. He’s obnoxious and conceited, and no one likes being around him. How can you love someone you don’t like?

Here is a copy of the answer:

Yes, the Bible certainly tells us to love others, even if they aren’t very lovable! When Jesus was asked which were the most important of God’s laws, He summarized them in two commands: to love God, and to love others (see Mark 12:28-34).

But what does it mean to love others? All too often, I’m afraid, we confuse liking someone with loving them. In other words, we think loving someone is similar to liking them, only much stronger. And this isn’t necessarily wrong, as far as it goes; a husband (for example) should genuinely like his wife and enjoy being in her company.

Does this mean we can’t love someone who’s difficult to like? No, it doesn’t, not if we understand the kind of love God has for us. God loves us not because we’re perfect, or even likeable, because we aren’t. We fall far short of what He wants us to be, yet the Bible says He still loves us. And unlike our love for others, His love means He always wants what’s best for us, although we don’t deserve it.

This is the way God wants us to love others — by seeking what’s best for them. No, your cousin may not be likeable, but have you ever asked God to change him? Have you ever gone out of your way to show love for him, even if he doesn’t deserve it? Open your heart and life to Christ’s transforming love. Then remember: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

 

I love you this much!

~ Jesus

Hat tip: Billy Graham.org.

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6 Responses to “But, How Do We Love?”

  1. GMpilot Says:

    The question:

    I’ve heard that the Bible tells us to love others, but everyone in our family agrees that one of our cousins is impossible to love. He’s obnoxious and conceited, and no one likes being around him. How can you love someone you don’t like?

    BGEA’s reply:

    Yes, the Bible certainly tells us to love others, even if they aren’t very lovable! When Jesus was asked which were the most important of God’s laws, He summarized them in two commands: to love God, and to love others (see Mark 12:28-34).

    That last line is especially important. I’ve been telling you for years that the only way anyone will ever see your god is in the actions of his followers. The verse quoted above emphasizes this.
    Continuing:

    …God loves us not because we’re perfect, or even likeable, because we aren’t. We fall far short of what He wants us to be, yet the Bible says He still loves us…His love means He always wants what’s best for us, although we don’t deserve it.

    Possibly the citizens of Jericho and Ai and Sodom might feel differently about that kind of ‘love’…if any of them were still alive. But I’m not going to go down that track, not today.
    What BGEA’s reply sounds like is to love someone despite their behavior—the agape type of love you’re always on about. That kind of love is practiced every day, by police officers, firefighters, first responders, and soldiers; and it goes largely unnoticed. That kind of love doesn’t need to advertise itself.
    Anyone can be nice to people they already like! The difficult form of love is to do good for–even lay down your life for–someone who is not your friend.

    Then remember: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

    What Bible are they quoting from? As I recall it, the words are “We love Him because He first loved us”.
    The difference is subtle, but definite.

    Like

    • christinewjc Says:

      Good question re: 1 John 4:19. I looked up the verse at Blue Letter Bible (NKJV) and there was a footnote that reads: “NU-text eliminates “Him.”

      I looked up what that means and here’s the explanation:

      Quote:
      NU-Text These variations from the traditional text generally represent the Alexandrian or Egyptian type of text described previously in “The New Testament Text.” They are found in the Critical Text published in the twenty-seventh edition of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (N) and in the United Bible Societies’ fourth edition (U), hence the acronym, “NU-Text.”

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      • GMpilot Says:

        Oh. That tells us what was done, but doesn’t explain why.

        They are found in the Critical Text published in the twenty-seventh edition of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (N) and in the United Bible Societies’ fourth edition (U), hence the acronym, “NU-Text.

        Is this now the Authorized Edition?
        Over the years, you’ve already jumped from the NIV to the NKJV, and I’d like to know so that I can quote the version you’re more comfortable with.
        Is He less important than before?
        Or is it simply that the eternal, unchanging Word of God™ has changed yet again?

        Like

      • christinewjc Says:

        I guess you didn’t notice that those texts are viewed as “variations from the traditional text?”

        I don’t know why the person who wrote that answer utilized the N-U text variation. The NKJV is considered traditional text. IMHO, it’s best to stick with traditional text.

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  2. GMpilot Says:

    I guess you didn’t notice that those texts are viewed as “variations from the traditional text”?

    Of course I did–that’s why I asked why god/Jesus was explicitly mentioned in one text, but not the other. As mentioned before, you used to quote from the NIV when throwing verses at me.
    Removing ‘Him’ from that verse changes the entire focus, by making it an agape love for everyone, instead of love for one specific person. Also, writing declared to be unchanging shouldn’t have any ‘variations’–it should be absolutely clear. It sounds as if a tittle has crept into the traditional text.

    Fortunately, that’s not my problem. Thanks for the reply.

    Like

    • christinewjc Says:

      One could look at it this way. Both statements can be true at the same time. The first (from the traditional text/NKJV) states the truth that since God is eternal, He loved us first. Thus, we have been given the capacity to love Him. Secondly, we love Him and others (also) because He loved us first.

      Like

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