Showing love

Loving Those Who Drive You Crazy–Guest Post by Karen Wingate

Quote pulled from text with a woman praying

I’m not very good at this loving one another thing.

Jesus’ disciples implored him, “Increase our faith.” I cry out to the Lord, “Increase my love!”

The Bible says we are to love our brothers and sisters “deeply from the heart” (I Peter 1:22, NIV)). Love is to be sincere (Romans 12:9, NIV) or, as some versions of the Bible say, real or without hypocrisy. We are to love as Christ loved us (John 13:34, NIV).

Here’s my dilemma. As I grow in my own ability to trust and obey God, I find myself impatient with those who still struggle with faith and obedience. Yet Christ asks me to love those who offend me, diss me, act in unloving ways toward me, and whose foolish choices cause me to suffer consequences. How do I love the Christian brother or sister who repeatedly dabbles in the world’s ways? How am I supposed to show love to those who don’t seem to notice or acknowledge my efforts?

Then I remember – that verse about loving as Christ loves me holds the answer. How does Jesus love me?

He loves sacrificially. He gave without expecting anything in return. Loving as Jesus loves means I’ll stay in the same room with a grouchy husband, loving him.

He loves universally and unconditionally. He loves me no matter who I am, where I’ve been, or how far I’ve come. I’ll listen with loving patience to the incessant chatter of an overwhelmed mama of preschool children.

He bases his love on my needs, not on my deeds. Grace and love entwine to give me what I don’t deserve.

Like Jesus, I’ll love others intentionally, expecting no return on my love investment.

He demonstrates his love in tangible ways. His death on the cross is a highly visible expression of His deep regard for me. I’ll look for concrete ways to express love to those who need it but don’t deserve it.

He forgives me. He chooses to remove the magnifying glass from the things I do wrong. I’ll hang in there with someone who persists in dabbling in the world’s ways.

Perhaps the answer to my struggle to love is found in the disciples’ plea to have an increase of faith. Paul challenges his readers to have the kind of faith that expresses itself in love (Galatians 5:6). How much do I buy into the fact that Jesus released me from sin’s grip when He died as my replacement on the cross? That I don’t have to earn His approval? That His grace and forgiveness is a gift and I don’t have to cling to guilt or shame any longer? Am I filled with such gratitude for all He has done for me that I am willing to share that gift with others? And if the only way they’ll catch the hugeness of God’s gift is through a demonstration of how the gift works, would I be willing to do it?

Opting to love as Jesus loves becomes a two-pronged approach. First, I commit myself to a growing knowledge of and gratitude for the vast extent of Jesus’ deep love for me. Next, I take the risk to love others in the same way. When I accept how I have been loved and reflect it to others, I am fulfilling God’s call to love with a depth and sincerity that will make those who drive you crazy sit up and take notice.

Who needs a gift of God’s love from you? What loving actions will best speak to their needs?

Showing love

Living Out God’s Crazy Love

I hope someone has told you how crazy you are or recently given you a baffled look. There’s no doubt that we live in a society overrun with comparison and consumed by peer opinion. But Christian, what people say of us shouldn’t fit the mold. As the public watches us live for God’s glory, they should see a bit of crazy.

As I read through 1st and 2nd Corinthians my heart was curious what Paul’s audience thought of his actions inspired by God.

I wonder if they were shaken that Paul would endure beatings and imprisonments for the sake of the gospel. Perhaps they thought he was a little strange choosing to be a nomad, walking the globe, telling people about Jesus. Did they think he was wrong for preaching love and faith in a time of persecution?

Paul hints that the Corinthians couldn’t quite understand such a bold and divinely purposed way of life. Image of a laughing woman with verse 2 Cor. 5:13He wrote, “If we are out of our mind it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you” (2 Corinthians 5:13 NIV).

If my life looks picture perfect to the world, who am I living for?

If my life looks picture perfect to the world, who am I living for?

This hits a chord in my heart. How many times have I sought the world’s good opinion instead of my Father’s—sought my glory instead of His? If my life looks picture perfect to the world, who am I living for? Whose purposes am I seeking? But if our lives look strangely different than the world in a faith-filled, exhilarating, divinely loving, powerfully reaching kind of way; perhaps it is a glimmer that we are living for God’s sake instead of our own.

Seeming ‘out of our mind’ to the world is a small price to pay for living out divine love in Christ. But that leaves the question of ‘Why?’ I think the Corinthians were wondering the same about Paul and his gang. What in the world would make mere men live so boldly?

Paul explained to them, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NIV).

Knowing the depth of God’s love has the power to change a person. When you understand that God loved you enough to jump in front of the death train for you, it gives your life importance.

When you understand that God loved you enough to jump in front of the death train for you, it gives your life importance.

As we let the truth of the cross and the love of Christ permeate to the hidden parts of our soul, we can’t help but have a new perspective on what is important in life. When you understand that God loved you enough to exchange His life for yours, it gives your life importance. And that importance gives way to a new purpose—to live extravagantly for the one who took your place. This is not out of obligation, but out of complete and utter thankfulness and joy as we live in such a love.

Paul puts it another way saying, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:56-58 NIV).

We handed God our sin and death, and in return he showered us in victory and life! And Paul says in thankfulness of that amazing and undeserved switch taking us from the losing team to the winning team, we know that every battle we sweat in the name of Jesus on this earth will be victorious. And that makes us bold. It makes us act a little different.

Living in Christ’s unconditional love helps us live out life-changing love to others.

His love urges us to forgive instead of condemn, encourage when we see sorrow, keep peaceful words on our lips when attacked, and speak truth in love when it’s hard. It makes us desire to live for others like Christ lived for us.

It makes us want to live a bit ‘out of our mind’ for Christ knowing our purpose is found in Him and not in the opinions of this world.

Let’s talk about this. How do you see your life choices changing as you know Jesus more and more?

What do you feel He is asking you to do in response to His love for you even if it might look crazy to the people around you? Join the conversation here in the comments below or on our Facebook page, because we can all learn from and encourage one another! And make sure to join us for one of Wholly Loved’s upcoming conferences. Explore how you are wholly loved, purposed, and unique in Christ and how knowing that empowers you to be bold and brave in His name! Find out more HERE.

Stay up to date on all our ministry happenings and receive great, free content sent directly to your inbox by signing up for our quarterly newsletter. You can do so HERE.