Love is a powerful force that can move mountains, heal wounds, and transform lives. It is an attribute that defines God, who is love itself. In fact, the Bible tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). This means that God’s love is not just an emotion, but an essential part of God’s character. Those who want to know God, are called to share this love with others.
The Commandment to Love One Another
On a basic level, Christianity teaches that Jesus came to earth to show us what God’s love looks like in action. He gave His disciples this important commandment: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). As surprising as it may be given the way many Christians behave, this commandment is not supposed to be optional. It is at the very heart of what it means to follow Jesus. And it applies not just to how we treat other Christians, but to all people, regardless of their race, religion, or social status.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
One of the most well-known stories Jesus told is the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). In this story, a man was beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. Two religious leaders saw him but passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was despised by the Jews, stopped to help him. He bandaged his wounds, took him to an inn, and paid for his care. Jesus used this story to illustrate what it means to love your neighbor. It’s not enough to talk about love or to feel sorry for someone in need. Love requires action. It requires us to step out of our comfort zones, to get involved in people’s lives, and to meet their needs.
The Fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” These are not just nice qualities to have. They are the evidence that the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives. And they are the qualities that enable us to love others as God loves us. When we have the fruit of the Spirit, we are patient with people who annoy us, kind to those who are unkind to us, and gentle with those who hurt us. We are able to forgive those who wrong us and to show compassion to those who are suffering. These are not easy things to do, but they are possible when we rely on the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Greatest Commandment
In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus was asked which commandment is the greatest. He replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” These two commandments are inseparable. We cannot claim to love God if we don’t love people, and we cannot love people if we don’t love God. When we love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, we are filled with God’s love, and it overflows to those around us.
How to Share God’s Love
So how can we share God’s love with others? Here are a few practical ways:
- Practice kindness: Be intentional about showing kindness to others, even in simple ways.
- Listen to others: Take the time to truly hear what someone is saying without judgment or interruption.
- Serve others: Serving others is a tangible way to show God’s love. Look for ways to serve in your community or church, and be open to opportunities to serve those around you.
- Pray for others: Prayer is a powerful way to show love and care for others. Take the time to pray for the needs of others and ask God to bless them.
- Share your resources: Whether it’s your time, money, or possessions, sharing what you have with others is a way to show love and generosity.
- Be patient and forgiving: We all make mistakes and fall short. When someone wrongs you, choose to extend forgiveness and patience. This can be a powerful way to show God’s love and grace.
- Speak words of encouragement: Words have the power to build up or tear down. Choose to speak words of encouragement and affirmation to those around you.
- Show hospitality: Inviting someone into your home or offering them a meal is a way to show hospitality and make them feel valued and loved.
- Be a peacemaker: In a world full of conflict and division, be a peacemaker. Seek to reconcile relationships and promote peace and unity.
God’s love is not meant to be hoarded or kept to ourselves. It’s meant to be shared with others. As we love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, we are filled with His love, and it overflows to those around us. By being intentional about showing kindness, serving others, praying for others, sharing our resources, being patient and forgiving, speaking words of encouragement, showing hospitality, and being a peacemaker, we can live out the command to love one another and make a positive impact in the world around us.
So let’s go out and share God’s love with those around us, knowing that as we do, we are reflecting the very heart of God.