Love is Hard

Romans 12:9-10 – Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection,and take delight in honoring each other

Don’t just pretend to love other. Really love them
Am I the only one who thinks that loving other people is hard? It’s hard when other people are rude. It’s hard when you don’t agree with them. It’s hard when they’ve hurt you, especially if they won’t acknowledge that they’ve hurt you. It’s hard when they don’t love you back. It’s hard when you have to be honest.

It’s hard because it’s painful.

Let’s face it – we (people) aren’t very lovable most of the time. And yet, God still love us and calls us to love each other. Sometimes, I really just want to throw a tantrum, kicking and screaming and saying, “But God, I don’t wanna!!!!” Because in all honesty, sometimes I just really don’t want to love other people.

But we’re called to love, real love not pretend love. I’m sure we have all learned how to be nice to people, to be kind and courteous, to avoid hurting feelings, and appear to love. But therein lies the problem, we learn how to appear to love people – we don’t actually love them. We try to make it look as though we love while exerting the smallest amount of energy possible.

Real, unconditional love is precious. It takes time and energy. It is not passive and inactive. True, genuine love requires concentration and effort. It means investing our time, money, and resources in places we really don’t want to for the sake of someone else.

We can’t love others on our own. To really love other people, we need a power that only God can give us, so pray and ask God for guidance and patience in loving other people. You can’t do it on your own.

Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.
What is wrong? Anything that is displeasing to God. What is right? Anything that is pleasing to God. Now, these categories should be pretty self-explanatory, but the problem is that they’re not.

If you were to make a list of things you believed to be right and things your believed to be wrong, I’m willing to bet money that your list wouldn’t be the same as someone else’s. This is just one example of the many reasons God gave us His Word, so we could know right from wrong.

I think that God’s definition of right and wrong vastly differs from the world’s definition. And I think that is why we have such a hard time really loving each other. It seems, too often, that we can’t look past the differences we have with other people to actually love them.

Most of us have different beliefs, different values, and different morals…but that doesn’t mean we can’t love one another. In fact, I would venture to say that, that should make us love others more. That should drive us to share Jesus’ love with others.

So for me, Hold tightly to what is good, means hold tightly to love and never stop loving others.

Love each other with genuine affection
Genuine affection in this text literally means brotherly love. It means to love each other as if they are family.

I think that last statement needs to be clarified though, because within families is often where we find the most hate and anger towards others. Our families can be a source of great love or a source of great pain. So I think brotherly love needs some clarification.

For us to love each other with brotherly love, means to love with a mutual love and commitment that is found in HEALTHY families.

And take delight in honoring each other
There are two ways in which we can honor each other.

1 – We honor our bosses so we will get rewarded. We honor the powerful so they will use their power for us. We honor the wealthy so that we will receive money. (the world’s way)

Or

2 – We honor each other simply because we have been created in God’s image, because we are brothers and sisters in Christ, or because we all have a unique contribution to make to the Church. (God’s way)

We can be so competitive at times that God’s way of honoring others just doesn’t seem good enough to satisfy us. Maybe we could try to outdo each other at showing honor by putting others first.

The bottom line: We need to love each other – REALLY love each other. That fake love junk won’t get you anywhere. Sure, it may keep you looking happy on put together on the outside, but on the inside you’ll be longing for true, deep love.

I know because I’ve been there. I spent many years just trying to make people think I loved them. I faked it really well. But all that fake love won’t do anything for you when you’re flat on your face and need a friend.

Only in true love can you find the happiness of a full life.

 

Lastly, Matthew 5:46-18 – If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Loving the people who love you is easy, what is hard, is loving the people who hate you, loving the people who’ve hurt you, loving the people who disagree with you. If we only love the people who us, how are we any different from those who hate us? Being the bigger person means loving the other person, regardless of what they’ve done.

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