Learning the Secret to Loving Others Well

Our pastor recently resigned.  It’s one of those happy/sad scenarios.  Because he and his family had such a tremendous relationship with the congregation, we are sad to say good-bye.  Yet, because God wants to do a new thing, we look forward with expectancy to what lay ahead.  For today, we welcome an interim pastor, and Sunday was his first morning with our church family.  He shared from Matthew 22: 36-40

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

We read through 1 Corinthians 13; What most of us call, “The love chapter”.  I’ve heard pastors read this chapter and ask the congregation to insert their name instead of the word “love”… Linda is patient, Linda is kind… 

And then they ask how true it rings?

I’ve often read through this chapter and evaluated my relationships.  How am I doing?

Gooseberry Falls Shoreline with Charis“Skipping Rocks” with a 2 year old on Lake Superior 🙂

But this past Sunday rather took my breath away.  Maybe because pregnancy hormones have me feeling SO Emotional.  But perhaps it’s because it was the first time I had been pointed to what is a truer evaluation of my heart condition.

If love is patient and kind,

If it does not does not envy or boast, if it is not prideful,  

If love does not dishonor others and is not self-seeking,

Not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs,

if love always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres…

How well am I loving GOD??

 

Gooseberry fallsGod’s beautiful Gooseberry Falls, on the Lake Superior Shore in Northern Minnesota

Am I always patient with the Lord, not insisting on my own way?

Is my relationship with Him always pure and not self-seeking?

Am I not ever pride-full?

Do I always trust Him, always hope in Him, always persevere through Him?

How well am I loving God?  Because He says the 2 most important things are to love Him first and then love others, but my love for others will flow through my love for Him.

If I am not loving God well, I will always struggle with other people.  

I went into the summer praying for God to change my heart and make me able to live life with more open hands… to be able to let go of those things He desires me to let go of so that I can cherish what He appoints me to cherish.  His response has consistently been to call me to be undone.

I’ve been learning about hope and surrender,

about perseverance and dependence,

about holiness and healing,

compassion and trust.

I’ve been learning deeper about practicing love as a verb, and

being okay with not being completely okay, because it’s only in being broken that we have anything at all to give.

The prayer of my heart is turning back to “Lord, help me love You more,”

and the understanding that loving others well is God’s heart and my act of worship.

 

How is your summer going?  What new things has God been teaching you?

 

 

5 thoughts on “Learning the Secret to Loving Others Well

  1. Stephanie

    This is beautiful and thank you for writing it, Linda. I’ve recently been convicted with that same passage of Scripture on whether or not I’m loving my children like that!!! I’m focusing on the fruits of the Spirit and seeing how I’m implementing them (or not!) during the day with them, and it’s been eye-opening. Each day I’m focusing on a new fruit, and then after I’ve gone through all them, I’ll repeat it. But you brought up a great point that we should also have these attitudes toward God.

    Hope your summer went well! I can’t believe it’s practically over!

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    1. Linda

      Yes, the summer has gone by quickly. We are already easing into school work at our house. One of the things I did with my children when teaching them the Fruit of the Spirit was to go through 1 Corinthians 3 and discuss the types of works: precious materials that will last versus wood, hay and straw that will be burned up. Then when I would “catch” them exhibiting good fruit, I would give them little plastic gems to collect. We did this for a few weeks and then they could look at what they earned. It was fun, but it encouraged them to depend on God and practice an awareness of their behavioral choices. Attitudes were more loving and there was a lot of helping going on. I should do this with our present “littles”. 😉

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  2. phoebedem

    Thank you for this post. It made me tear up a bit and I’m not entirely sure why. I am in the process of learning how to love others truly. I have built up walls the last several years as a way to protect myself and I’m afraid that as a result I have alienated myself. There’s a vulnerable part of me I don’t trust others with and have been hurt and abandoned in the past. I am learning that I need to love and trust others again.

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    1. Linda

      I’m so sorry for the hurt you’ve dealt with. May you experience healing in the arms of the Lord, and may your love for Him grow into a concern and compassion for others that will bring those walls down!

      Liked by 1 person

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