Elsewhere in scripture Jesus says directly that the two great commandments are to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. And the above quote from John says in essence that those two are not separate steps but one and the same.
As we started discussing the Fruits of the Spirit this month at SPLS we addressed how the fruit of love is at the foundation of building one another up. And love does not depend on being loved. In fact, the truest test of love is loving someone who does not love us (or doesn’t treat us nicely).
God’s calling to us is to love the unlovable. And if we are making excuses as to why it is OK to reject this person or speak ill of that person we are not loving. And we are confessing that our love for God is pretty weak as well.
Now this is a hard thing to teach kids and even harder to help them live out. They have this strong sense of justice. And a strong drive for self-preservation. And both have to be put aside to some degree for a child to show kindness and care for someone who is NOT their favorite.
Now where does this leave us as teachers and parents?
The first step is to check ourselves and realize we may not have loved God as we should because some people just make us mad and we have a hard time thinking kindly of them. And our kids see this.
I have to be the example. My words about loving mean nothing if the kids see me not acting in love.
And we need to talk about it. We need to define love as the most important fruit of the spirit when it comes to building others up and to remind them that God loved them in spite of their unlovable nature. And he not only calls us to love, he gives us the power to do it. What does not come naturally from our human nature flows from God being present in our lives, loving us, forgiving us and strengthening us.
I commit to not being a liar. I commit to loving everyone God’s sends my way. Because I love God and want it to show in real ways. Are you joining me in that commitment?
In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd