A Better Kind of Love
“Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14
Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I don’t like her—I can’t stand her—but I love her in Christ.” I know I have. And whatever kind of “love” that is, it’s not the kind of love God calls us to. God calls us to a better kind of love.
Because we are believers—people who are changed by grace and were given new life—our love must be radically different from the world. We are called to be compassionate, showing sympathy to one another even when we think the concern is ridiculous. We are called to be kind, even when others are not kind to us. We are called to humility, considering others better than ourselves. We are called to be meek, bearing with those who insult us. We are called to patience, even with the most trying people. We are called to forgive, even when it’s hard.
In other words, we are called to be like Christ. We are called to be like our perfect Savior, who cried with compassion when He saw the people mourning for Lazarus (Luke 11:17-35). Who kindly dealt with the woman at the well (John 4:1-26) and humbly came to earth to die on the cross for us (Philippians 2:1-11). Who meekly accepted insult (Isaiah 53:7). Who deals patiently with us (2 Peter 3:8-9) and has forgiven all our sins (Ephesians 1:7).
This may feel like an impossible task. How could I ever show this kind of love, even to those I do not like, even those who seek to harm me? Thanks be to God who has given us the Holy Spirit to enable us to live out this kind of love. And what about when we fail? Thanks be to God, who loves each of His children perfectly and is abundant in grace.
Dear God, thank You for loving me with such a love as this. Thank You for dealing with me compassionately, kindly, and patiently. Thank You for forgiving me each time I fail to love others as You have loved me. Help me today to display Your love to those I come in contact with by loving them with the same gracious love. And when I fail to love Your children as You have loved me, please remind them of Your love.
If you want to learn how to love like Christ, spend some time in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), taking note of how He shows love to each person He encounters. To some, He shows love by speaking difficult truths to them. To others, He shows gentle compassion. Learn from Christ how to love the different people around you.