Part 1: A Big Life
Message: Unconditional Love
Oh! Teach us to live wisely and well...
Psalm 90:12 (Message)
If you want to love the way Jesus loved, if you want your life to be characterised by love in a way that reflects the heart of God to everyone you meet, then pay attention to how you respond to people who make you uncomfortable. You know… the ones who are different from you in significant ways, the ones you don’t like, don’t understand, and don’t enjoy. The people who hold different beliefs, practice different lifestyles and hold distinctly different priorities from your own.
As painful as relationships can sometimes be, we are relational beings, created in God’s image to belong, to serve, to worship and to live in community. We’re called to be his hands and feet and God often touches our life through those around us; relationships are the lifeblood of the Church.
While there are many different dimensions to Christian love, I believe the ability to love unconditionally is the one that most characterises the spacious, abundant life we have in Christ. I suspect this willingness to love others unconditionally and its regular practice are significantly missing from many believers’ lives. We say we want to love others just as God loves us, but too often we end up choosing comfort and convenience over compassion.
Because of his unconditional love for all people, we often find God in the midst of places and situations where we least expect him - on the street corners and in alleyways, in hospitals and prisons, orphanages and courtrooms.
Yet, the love required to love those who are different from us will always be supernatural.
What frames the tone of your life? How often do you stretch beyond your comfort zone to reach out to people with whom you disagree? The ability to enjoy a big, spacious, open-hearted life is directly proportional to your ability to love everyone, especially those who are different from you. Remember - everywhere you find people, you will also find God. Be challenged today to live outside of yourself. Stop and give time to people you may not normally associate with, be aware of your surroundings and of people who may need the love of Christ lavished on them today – through you. Be willing to be a vessel used by God, not just toward people whom you love and agree with, but to people whom you may find difficult or disagree with. Ask God to give you wisdom and strength to be Christ-like to each and every person you encounter.
Prayer: Father, I long to love others as You love me. Help me not to judge but to love them supernaturally with an open heart and without conditions.