Just As I Have Loved You

We live in a broken and sinful world full of so much evil sometimes it’s hard to see or feel God and his love. I am frightened and grieved by my sin. How can I be so unloving to God by sinning against him? How is it he can in return still love me? Not only does he love me but even in the depths of my sin he loves me unconditionally. When I take pause and see my sin I am so disgusted. It can be a challenge not to get stuck there, looking inward, being self-condemning but that is where we look to the cross, that is where we see the gospel.

God doesn’t like our sin, in fact he hates it. Although He hates our sin he does not turn his back on us. In fact it’s quite the opposite. He draws us nearer to him, he loves us and calls us his own. Even at our worst He will not abandon us or forsake us. He will not stop loving us even though he hates our sin. He loves us, no matter what. There is nothing you or I can do to change that. Praise Jesus!

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34

“Just as I have loved you,” wow those are some powerful words and seem impossible to live up to but because Christ dwells in us his love can pour out of us. We as believers say we love people, all people, including our brothers and sisters in Christ, because we know God commands love, but are we being loving to them? If we truly love them as we are commanded then our actions will show that love. Love is not something you say but rather something you do. The gospel can teach us knowledge but first and foremost it teaches us love because it shows us the love God has for us that was poured out at the cross. There is a difference between appearing loving and actually being loving. So often we get caught up in our appearance we ignore our hearts.

Clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Colossians 3:12&13

I can be a hard person to like let alone love. I’m terribly flawed. But for those that see me as one of God’s creations they see beyond those flaws. They see me for the woman that God created me and is refining me to be. They choose to walk with me as I grow closer to God and as I am transformed. I thank God for the people he has brought into my life that see me as His creation and love me, no stipulations, and no questions asked. They simply and beautifully love me, a gospel-centered love.
 
The really neat thing is that these people God has brought into my life that love me, not all of them like me. In fact I am not close friends with all of them but they continue to show me gospel-centered love as we walk this earthly life. Why do they love me but not like me? They love me, and they show that love because not only has God called them to love, He commands it. Just as he calls you and I to love people, even if we don’t like them, even when it’s really hard. We are called to love and we are called to show that love.  This is an area in my life that I feel God working on my heart and I’m grateful for the examples he has given me both in scripture and in my daily life.
 
We are all on a journey and along the road there are many turns and bumps, we may even face a season of long suffering. The path that lay before us is usually not quite what we had planned but is always for our best. We all endure suffering and we all feel joy at some point or another and sometimes both at the same time. I take great comfort in knowing that no matter where I am in my journey God is carrying me, loving me, and refining me bringing beauty from the ashes.
 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 
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