Learning To Love Without Limits

 

love-never-fails-source

In the first book 0f Peter, Peter is writing, instructing the church in a number of things.  Do’s and Don’ts. How to live a holy life.  Warnings on avoiding sin.  etc. etc. etc.

Towards the end of the book, he seems to wrap up all of those details with this…

” Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

1 Peter 4:8

God knows that even though He can tell us how to live, He can show us how to live and He can motivate us on why we should live in this way…we.  need.  simple.

And there is nothing more simple than loving someone.

I lost some of you there didn’t I?  We’ve all had someone we tried to love and it just seemed difficult.  May I suggest it was not in the loving them that was difficult, but in our expectations of their reaction to our love that made it so?  God doesn’t ask us to love according to how the other person will respond.  He just tells us to love.  Unconditionally.  Like His love for us.

 

Why should we love without limits?

God’s love for us is the thread that is woven throughout scripture.  Every story.  Every word.  It all boils down to His love for us.

Before our very existence, we were loved.  Unconditionally.  Out of our own experience of being loved without any strings attached, we love others.  Taking what has been freely given to us and passing it on.  Good stuff in, good stuff out.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

Who are we to withhold our love from others in light of what Jesus has done for us?

Indulge me for a moment and allow me to string some words together that I see in the good Book.  I’ll reference where they are if you’d like to look at them in context.

 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Mark 12:31a

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.”  Luke 6:32

“Above all, love each other deeply…” 1 Peter 4:8a

“…love covers over a multitude of sins”  1 Peter 4:8b

“…love never fails”  1 Corinthians 13:8a

Love never fails?  Doesn’t that mean that it always wins?  That’s good news!

Who do we love without limits?

Everyone

 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Mark 12:31a

Who is it that you have a hard time loving?

That neighbor who comes and goes at all hours?

That boss who takes advantage of his/her flexible schedule?

That new friend of your child you just don’t like?

That family member who keeps disappointing you?

That ex-spouse who won’t pay their child support?

That father that walked out when you were a child?

That counselor who keeps giving you homework in your marriage?

That teacher who plays favorites in your child’s classroom?

That person staring back at you in the mirror every morning?

No one is exempt.  No one has used their sin card too many times.  No one is so despicable or deplorable that we are not to love them.  God doesn’t withhold His love from anyone and we are to follow His lead.

How do we love without limits?

He makes this so easy for us that He even defines what love is.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

“…it keeps no record of wrongs…”

“…it does not dishonor others…”

Ouch.

As believers in Christ, we are to be conduits.  A pipeline of sorts.

Think of a storm drain.  The fresh, clean rains pour down and those drains have the task of funneling that water from one place into another.  But, sometimes they get clogged with trash and muck.  When they do, the pipes aren’t able to do what they were made for.  Water backs up.  The source of the water keeps pouring in and the pipe becomes stressed and bloated.  The water that was supposed to run through is now sitting, attracting insects and becoming stagnant.  On the flip side, the areas that desperately needed that water are left thirsty.  Soil sits dry.  Pipes begin to age and crack.

The love Christ has poured into us…let’s be careful not to slow down that flow with a bunch of trash in our pipes.  Trash like pride,anger, jealousy…

 

I’ve had a name or two on a list before.  People I did NOT want to even THINK about loving.  Content to let someone else throw them a smile or be kind.  Holding wrongs against them seemed, and seems, like the intelligent thing to do, right?  Aren’t we supposed to judge people by their fruit?  Yes.

But…

Just because I love someone, doesn’t mean they are my new best friend.  It doesn’t mean I agree with their choices or we need to start meeting for coffee.

Loving them simply means that I recognize that I am no better than they are in the sight of the One who gives us both breath.  We are on a level playing field.  There is only one Judge and I am not it.

I’m learning that I can love someone up close and I can love someone from a distance.  I’m learning that people are in my life on purpose for a purpose.  I’m learning that while I learn to love, even when I don’t want to, it changes me.  I become less self-centered and more thankful for the grace that God extends to me on a daily basis.

This is walking in the freedom that faith provides.  He loves.  I love.  It will never fail.

I’m learning a lot about this and it’s all good.

Why do we love without limits?

Because we are loved without limits.

Who do we love without limits?

Anyone with breath in their lungs.

How do we love without limits?

With perseverance and constant hope.

Reflect & Respond:

**  Are you withholding love from someone?

**God tells us that love covers over a multitude of sins.  Thank Him for that and begin praying for whoever is on your list.  But be fore-warned, your prayers may not change that person, but they will almost always change you!

Praying for you all,

Kellie

 

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