Just admit it: you know you have to love people, but sometimes you just don’t feel like loving. It can be the hardest thing to do! So, what do you do?
When you don’t feel love, you do love. Because when you don’t feel like loving, loving is doing. Let’s see how this works.
For the religious types in Jesus’ day, religious duty was all about commandments, so one day, Jesus was asked a question:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40, NIV).
We know exactly who Jesus meant when he talked about loving “your neighbour”, because he was then specifically asked,
Who is my neighbour? (Luke 10:29, NIV),
Jesus told the story of the Prodigal Son, which you can read in Luke 10:25-37 . In this story, there are three key characters: a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan.
Everyone would have found it easy to “love” the priest and the Levite, because these are the religious leaders of the day. It’s like saying, “Your church pastor is your neighbour. Go and love him.” That was equivalent of the most respected people in that society back then.
But that’s not what Jesus is saying at all. The point of Jesus’ story is that your neighbour is the Samaritan. And the Samaritans were the hardest people of all to love. Not only were they the wrong ethnic group, not only did they belong to the wrong religion, but Samaritans were seen as hated robbers and murders, who had a reputation for attacking travellers and killing them for their money!
Jesus is telling us that when you love, your love much be capable of embracing those who are the most difficult to love, those whom you least feel like loving. Anything other than that isn’t love!
If you love, you can’t cherry-pick who you love. True love – God’s love – doesn’t work that way.
All of us have people in our lives whom we find most difficult to love. They’re the very ones we should love!
Remember that when you don’t feel like loving, love is doing. Love, when it is expressed through action, grows. In the stories of Jesus, those who are loving is those who show that love in practical ways. So be the one who makes the change. When you don’t feel like loving, love is doing. Don’t just talk about love. Do love, when you don’t feel love.
Read Christ’s dramatic teaching. There’s nothing here about feeling loving. But to those who do love,
in Matthew 25:14-26 Jesus says something wonderful to a group of people who are truly blessed:
Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world (Matthew 25:34, NIV).
He addresses these words, not to those who simply “feel” loving, but to those who do love.
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez.
About the Author: Dr Eli Gonzalez is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question.