Everyone has people in their lives who are harder to love, harder to enjoy being with, than others. We have plenty of reasons to pull out and defend ourselves; she's hard to talk with, he's anti-social, she never returns things, he's always borrowing money, she gossips, he has bad breath. She always makes the conversation revolve around herself. He tells lame jokes and expects everyone to find them hilarious. She always exaggerates. He keeps asking you to do things for him. She's just 'uncool'...
At prayer meetings, people problems make up a sizable share of prayer requests. Difficult colleagues/employers/employees. Friends who don't actually behave as friends should. Bullies, enemies, siblings (it's sad to have to put all three in the same category, but they're often more similar than they should be.) Cliques.
Sometimes the reasons are legitimately bad habits; sometimes they're simply challenges to our comfort zone which we're too comfortably selfish to meet. Left to ourselves, we love with the world's love: when it contributes to loving ourselves.
Which is exactly the opposite of how Christ loved us. He loved us not because we were at all lovable, but because He was love, and He knew we needed Him.
Just take a look at the graphic above. If you want to be really analytic and impressive you can elaborate on how the heart, as the symbol of love, also represents the intrinsic link to SELF that our human love has. The heart, after all, is the center of Yourself, is 'You' in a complete, emotional sense that your brain isn't. We love, as flawed humans, with our hearts. With ourselves still very much involved.
Much as we use the term love today. We love a certain tool or object because it's so handy to use, or a certain food because it makes us so happy, or a picture because it's beautiful--or an outfit/hairstyle because it makes us look beautiful. All because it reflects or gives gratification of a sort to ourselves, or has a reason to make us love it. And we measure people and relationships, unconsciously, with the same ruler.
But Christ's love transcended our puny human definitions of love in a totally unimaginable and truly awesome way. In stark contrast to the symbolism of the heart, the cross symbolizes the sacrifice of Self, the death of Self. Christ's love is a whole new powerful, glorious definition of Love that our own human love can only feebly reflect some aspects of.
When God enables us to stop seeing people as a means of meeting our own emotional needs/gratifying ourselves, we are enabled to truly love them, the way Christ loved us.
Without the taint of self.
a quiet voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
all images from Pinterest unless otherwise specified. thanks, Pinterest!