what does love require of me?
“In every dealing with someone, before every statement or response to anyone, a follower of Jesus, a disciple, should ask themselves first: ‘What does love require of me?’” —Andy Stanley
If we ask this question and respond accordingly I think we’ll fulfill the command that Jesus gave us in John 13:34: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (NIV).
What does that even look like? I mean, if I think about the people that I do love and even those that I like or even just know, it doesn’t seem like too much of an issue; but what about those that I don’t like or that I don’t even know? It’s not hard for me to lovingly respond to my wife or sisters or mother, it seems natural because I genuinely do love them. But when I think about the times when I interact with people I don’t really like or don’t know, I can honestly say that I wasn’t always the nicest person.
The part that makes me feel even worse is if I replay those same scenarios and I keep my side the same but I replace one of those unliked/unknown people with someone that I genuinely do love. I sure don’t like the way I was acting. I know, had it been the case the first time around and it was a loved one, I wouldn’t have acted the same way. Even if I replay the situation with my loved one saying and doing unkind things to me—as if they were someone I didn’t like or didn’t know—then I know that I would have responded differently as well. I would have given them more grace and latitude. I would have shown them love. I know I can do better, and Jesus commanded it.
So why is it when the situations and conversations come up with those that I don’t like or don’t know, that I have a hard time consistently showing them love?
One of my big pet peeves, and where I lose my cool fast, is driving in the car. I have a real bad attitude about everyone else on the road—they’re always in my way. Now, it’s not uncommon for me to be driving somewhere together with family and friends—following one another in separate cars. I notice that when I drive with friends and family this way that I don’t get angry at them—even when they do the same things that other drivers do that make me furious. I’ve even been driving along and had someone do something that infuriates me, only to find out that I know the offender personally. I immediately calm down and forgive them, even chuckling to myself, Hey there’s so an so! So why can’t I have that same attitude towards every driver? I don’t think about the fact that I might be on my way to join them in a meeting or that they might be my co-worker down the hall. And I don’t think that they might be a brother or sister in Christ. Maybe they’re simply having a bad day and made a mistake? I know I can do better, and Jesus commanded it.
I think that the question Andy Stanley poses—“What does love require of me?”—is a great life-filter that I will try to use everyday. I think that the better I get at using this filter consistently, the better a person I will become. Certainly a better driver (and my wife will love that alone…lol). —submitted by Jim Young, US
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