Our Bible verse for today: “This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Love on purpose”
I read a story about a woman who was kidnapped and brutally raped. Eventually the man who did that to her was arrested, convicted, and given a long prison sentence. But the memory of the rape haunted the woman. She was emotionally scarred by it. Her hatred for the man who raped her ran deep, to the point that it colored her personality and affected every aspect of her life. She was a sad and bitter person who was defined in her own mind by this event from her past.
But through her long struggle of trying to deal with it, she came to faith in Jesus and soon discovered that she was able to forgive the man. The day even came when she was able to go to the prison and visit the rapist. She sat across a table from him, looked him in the eye and said, “I forgive you for what you did to me. What you did was wrong, and I’m glad you’re being punished for it, but in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you.”
This is how she later described her decision to visit him: “It was the last thing I wanted to do. I was physically sick at the thought of seeing him again. On an emotional level, I was afraid of him. I was repulsed by him. And, I have to be honest, I hated him. But my feelings were not the issue. I knew that what God wanted was my obedience. He wanted me to love that man with my will and with my words, even though in my emotions I couldn’t stand the sight of him.”
It has often been said that love is a verb. It is an action word. In other words, love is often a decision to act rather than an emotion you feel. It’s an action you take to reach out in love, even if you don’t have feelings of love for this person. Paraphrasing a famous quote from C.S. Lewis, “Don’t worry if you actually love a person or not. Just act as if you do, and soon the feelings of love will come.”
This is what Jesus was teaching in John 15:12-13. He wants us to make a decision and take an action to demonstrate love for others. Such action does not necessarily have to involve actually laying down your life for someone, that’s simply the extreme example Jesus chose to use to make his point. He was illustrating a sacrificial act intentionally taken to show love to another. This is loving people on purpose. It’s making a decision and acting in love whether you actually feel the emotions of love or not.
Love is a verb. It is an action-oriented word. I encourage you love people on purpose.