Romans 12:10 (NIV)
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
We continue to have verses sent in reference to relationships between believers. These are always great reminders when we might feel otherwise. The Apostle John was quite direct on the matter when he wrote:
1 John 4:20-21 (NKJV)
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
Both Paul and James give us practical ways to demonstrate love.
Romans 13:8-10 (NKJV)
8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Galatians 5:13-15 (NKJV)
13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
Galatians 6:1-3 (NKJV)
6 Brothers and sisters, if a person is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
James 2:8-9 (NKJV)
8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
But even outside the church, our relationships with unbelievers are to be filled with grace and salt. As Paul encouraged, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18) If we are Spirit-filled, we will bear the fruit (the nature) of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-26 (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
And, yes, kindness is on the list! And I believe it is kindness that will do more for the Kingdom of God than any other virtue. Why? Well, to me, kindness is the greatest expression or manifestation of the other fruit of the Spirit. Love, peace, goodness, gentleness, and self-control are all directly expressed through kindness. Kindness is inherent in longsuffering and faithfulness. And kindness is shown toward others because of the joy we have in our hearts … the joy of our salvation and the deep desire we have to see others come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. If it was the kindness of God that led us to repentance (Cf. Romans 2:4), then I think the kindness we extend to others should have the same intent. Indeed, “Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (Cf. James 2:13)
Well, if you are struggling with loving other people as God sees them … especially those you consider most unlovable … I hope these Scriptures will give you some renewed encouragement to love … as God in Christ has demonstrated His love for you. Love does not condone sin; rather it atones for it. Love does not remove the consequences caused by sin; rather, it forgives (releases) the offender. As Paul instructed: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (Cf. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8) I pray that we will all strive to keep love at the forefront of our thoughts so that our actions will follow….