Several years ago, my women’s group did a study by Beth Moore called “Loving Well” and that’s when I learned about the 4 different types of people to love:
1. Joy– the people who are easy to love, who make our world joyful.
2. Testy– the people who test your ability to love, those who are hard to love.
3. Foes– people you want to hate even though you know God is calling you to love them.
4. Strangers– people who are not involved in your everyday life.
I remember at one point in the study we had to list our “foes” and I felt really grateful, as I looked around the room watching other women scratching names into their journals, that I had none. Not at all a humble brag on me, that’s a SUPA DUPA brag on Jesus. There was a time I could’ve filled pages of “foes”. Because of the mighty work of my loving Father God, my page remains blank.
I watched a sermon last night that touched on the Loving Well theme and served as a reminder that people matter and are the most important responsibility in our lives, after Jesus. There is never a point that we should be able to look into the face of another human and not call to mind that even this person was created by God and for God’s purposes. Any person we meet needs to be seen through the lens of Christ and we should always seek to see them with His eyes. People matter. To me. To you. To Him. As believers, we have a charge to go out and make disciples of ALL the nations; please note that the bible never said…
… of some nations, but not the ones that you don’t like
… of some people, but not the ones who love in a way that’s unbiblical
… of some people, but not the ones who have committed crimes/who are bad
… of some people, but not those that look different than you do
… of some people, but not those ones who struggle with addiction
… of some people, but not those who vote differently than us
… of some people, but not those who believe in ending pregnancy
… of some people, but not those who support/don’t support gun laws
You guys get the picture, right? People don’t need to justify to us why they deserve love because we should be giving it to them by the bucketful before we even know why. Simply because they were created by the same Creator as us.
In last night’s sermon, the woman at the well (John 4: 7-45) was mentioned and served as a reminder that when we go out of our way to love people well, we can’t begin to understand how their life may become unlocked with a sense of freedom that can only come from the Holy Spirit. We don’t even have an inkling of an idea what God has in store for His people who are walking in the freedom of Jesus Christ because someone chose to love them well.
• Love does…
• Love gives…
• Love sacrifices…
• Love invests…
• Love serves…
• Love listens…
• Love meets needs…
• Love forgives…
• Love hopes…
Emphasis below is mine.
1 Corinthians 13 Amplified Bible (AMP) The Excellence of Love
13 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction]. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing. 3 If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all.
Love (Stephanie) endures with patience and serenity, love (Stephanie) is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love (Stephanie) does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. 5 It (Stephanie) is not rude; it (Stephanie) is not self-seeking, it (Stephanie) is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it (Stephanie) does not take into account a wrong endured. 6 It (Stephanie) does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. 7 Love (Stephanie) bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].
8 Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. But as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for the gift of special knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part [for our knowledge is fragmentary and incomplete]. 10 But when that which is complete and perfect comes, that which is incomplete and partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God]. 13 And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.
We can come up with lots of reasons why we shouldn’t be loving certain people. I promise you, they’re all wrong and not biblical. Friends, I hope that you’re able to look into faces today and see them with a fresh perspective and a fresh burst of love for them. I hope that you’ll be able to see someone in need and not just pray for them, but also meet needs for them. I hope that you’ll see someone sitting alone in church and you’ll go sit beside him/her, even if that person doesn’t look like you. I hope that you’ll see each set of eyes today as Jesus sees those eyes. His. Beautiful. Belonging. Deserving. Worth loving.
Love is a verb. An action. Something we have to choose to do. Let’s choose well, shall we?