What is love?
Do I have it in my relationships?
Am I giving it in my relationships?
How can true love bring peace to my life and relationships?
Although there may be as many definitions of love as there are people, the desire to do what is best for the other person, even when it requires a sacrifice on our part, is a good definition of love. We actually see examples of this all around us; parents tending to the needs of their children at the expense of their own desires; friends deferring to each other when making plans; people stopping on the roadways to assist each other.
We also hear stories of people making heroic sacrifices such as donating a kidney to a stranger in need, or rescuing someone from a burning car or building, even though it puts them at great risk. Although most of us will not be involved in heroic circumstances such as these, we are all called to love sacrificially, and have opportunities to do so daily. Every time we resist the inclination to put ourselves and our needs ahead of those of others, we are loving sacrificially.
The best example we have of sacrificial love is God's love for us, shown in his sacrifice of his son, Jesus, on the cross for our forgiveness and redemption. Jesus was an innocent victim, but willing to give up his life, knowing he would earn the forgiveness of our sins that allows us to receive eternal life with God for all eternity. We could not accomplish this on our own. Only he could do this for us. He knew that, and out of love for us, and for God, was willing to pay the price for us with his life.
Now, through his example, and the grace of the Holy Spirit, we are asked to accept this gift, freely given, of forgiveness of our sins, reconciliation with God, and redemption of our lives, so we can live in loving relationship with God and each other now and for all eternity. Jesus commanded us to "Love one another as I have loved you " (John 13:34). This means means forgiving and reconciling with one another, so we have the loving relationships that bring us peace, and testify to the power and presence of God here on earth.
This is how Jesus said others will know we are his disciples,“by your love for one another.” (John 13:35) In another passage, it was described that Jesus’ followers we identified after his death by the love they showed one another. (1 Peter 4:7-11)
Grace alone gives us the ability to love sacrificially. It is not within the ability of human nature to behave this selflessly. That is why it is such a powerful witness to God's presence and love within us when we can forgive and reconcile with those who have wronged us. We sacrifice our desire and ability to seek revenge out of love for the other person, and our desire for what is best for them and our relationship with them.
Receiving and living in this grace unites us so closely to God that we become instruments of his love for others, we become " ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us." (2 Corinthians 5:20). This means that when we love others sacrificially, they experience the love God has for them through us! What a powerful calling this can be; to bring the love of God to those whom he places in our lives!
How do we obtain the graces we need to love in this way? Prayer will provide you with everything you need. Jesus instructed us to “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
Grace alone can give us the power to love selflessly, to forgive when we have been wronged, to reconcile with others so that we have peace in our relationships, and to change our lives so that we have peace with God and within ourselves. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
If you would like to talk with me about growing in grace and love, schedule a phone appointment , and I will help you discern how God is leading you into greater love relationships with others, yourself, and with Him.
"Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."