As Christians, we are commanded to love. It’s not always easy to love others through the hurt and challenges. God’s love serves as the ultimate example, the purest expression of selflessness. It is a love that knows no bounds, embracing us in our flaws and imperfections. Love is not passive; it is an active choice. In choosing to love, we align ourselves with a force that has the power to heal wounds, bridge divides, and bring light into the darkest corners of our hearts.
In Matthew 22:37-39 (ESV), Jesus tells us, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Here, Christ articulates a twofold foundation for love: a vertical love directed towards God with the entirety of our being, and a horizontal love extended to our neighbors as an overflow of our love for God.
In John 13:34-35 (ESV), Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” Christ raised the bar for love, calling His followers to love with the unconditional love that He demonstrated. This love is not merely a suggestion but a defining characteristic that sets apart the disciples of Christ.
We often apply the framework in Corinthians to romantic love but occasionally fail to love our neighbor with the same compassion and passion. Applying the principles of love from 1 Corinthians 13 in our interactions with others results in relationships characterized by understanding, humility, patience, and enduring commitment. It fosters an environment where individuals feel valued, accepted, and supported, reflecting the transformative power of love in our daily lives.
The journey of love is not always easy. It requires sacrifice and vulnerability. Yet, it is precisely in these moments of challenge that love reveals its transformative power. Through prayer and a commitment to embody the sacrificial love modeled by Christ, we can navigate the difficulties of loving others, trusting in the unifying nature of love as a testament to God’s transformative work within us and through us.