Do I love others well?
To answer this question, I must first define the term love. For the sake of this article, let me simply define love as a verb, i.e. words, deeds, and the motives behind them. Love has nothing to do with who the ‘other person’ or ‘offending party’ is, but it has to do with who I am.
How do I know I love well?
In the biblical text we are studying it is apparent Jesus is teaching His followers to be actively pursuing the good of the other person. “Love our enemies…do good…pray for…offer the other cheek…Give…” (Luke 6:27-30). It is easy to think in terms of ignoring others or at least not lashing out at others, but Jesus’ teaching challenges us to think beyond what is natural. He is a God of the supernatural, and this is not seen in anything more than in our relationships. It sometimes feels as though raising someone from the dead would be easier than loving someone (maybe it’s just me).
How can I love well?
Jesus gives us three ways. “Love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (6:35-36)
First, understand there is a reward for loving well. Whatever this reward may be, I am sure it is multi-faceted. We can be assured it is something we receive in the present age as well as the age to come. Jesus’ love, and all that entails, must be the reward.
Second, submit to what it means to be a child of God. Love is a characteristic of what it means to be a son or daughter of the Most High God. This statement by Jesus should not be seen as creating a works-based salvation earned by loving others, but loving well is the primary identifying feature of being a Christian and primary evangelistic tool Christian’s have to reach unbelievers (John 13:34-35).
Third, accept others as I accept myself. I naturally perceive myself, and my sins, as something more acceptable than I perceive others, along with their sins. We are to love others as we have been loved (I John 4:7-12).
Donny Crass, Minister of Discipleship