“I love mankind … it’s people I can’t stand!!” — Charles Schultz
When you think about it, it’s easy to say we love mankind, or we love people in general, but when it comes down to loving this one or that one that can be difficult. I have friends that would disagree with my statement because they don’t like people in general either – and have said so out of their own mouths.
What makes believers stand apart from the rest of the world? Love. Not that non-believers don’t love, they do but it is human love. Love that makes believers stand apart is the love that only comes from God. It’s not love of mankind (humankind to be politically correct), it is love of individuals. It is not love in general, but love specifically.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7
When we speak of love in our culture we tend to think of feelings of affection, kindness, compassion, warm fuzzies and pleasure. But how do we love individuals that do not elicit such fond feelings? How do we love someone that we do not feel love for? Not to love them would be sin, disobedience to God.
I believe this point right here describes what leads to many, most if not all, divorces. “I am not in love with him/her anymore.” What that person is saying is, “I do not have warm fuzzy fond feelings for that person anymore.” This is not a Biblical view of love. A Biblical view of love is not emotion-driven it is action-driven. “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” 1 John 3:18.
NEWSFLASH: Even when warm fuzzy fond feelings are lacking – we can still love. How’s that? Because love is of God – not of woman. This applies to any relationship, not just marriage.
Three thoughts that should get us moving in the right direction to love specifically:
1. Set our eyes on Jesus. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor 3:18). As we behold Him we will become like Him. As we behold Him we will grow in loving others with His love. Focus on Jesus and obedience to Him rather than on your emotions.
2. Pray. Ask God to give you a heart for the individual. Pray for the individual. Ask God to give you eyes to see ways you can have action-oriented love for that person.
3. Step out in faith and show action-oriented love. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7; “Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 6:23). Trusting God in the moment, put on loving actions towards the individual REGARDLESS of how you feel. That, sister, is loving specifically. Not once and done but over and over and over.
Have a LOVE-LY day,
Diane Hunt served for 16 years on the staff of America’s Keswick until recently when she and her husband relocated to North Carolina. She now continues serving as a contributing writer and Partner Care consultant. Diane is also a Biblical Counselor, speaker, teacher, and author. She delights in the opportunities she has as a women’s conference and retreat speaker to share from God’s word. Many of her illustrations are drawn from her relational experiences as a wife, mother, and mema. They are the very relationships that bring her the greatest joy and the most fun!
i Charles M. Schultz, The Complete Peanuts vol. 5
ii The idea of loving in general and loving specifically came from a Sunday sermon by Pastor Mickey Connelly. The development of the idea in this VC is my own.