Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
– Martin Luther King, Jr. (from Brainy Quote)
Last week I wrote about how the fruit of the Spirit should be visible in our lives, despite circumstances. And I prompted you to slow down and think about each of the fruit in Galatians 5. But these are so important that I think they deserve their own post each. The first one is love. I have written about that before of course, but here is another post on this important topic!
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (WEBBE): 4Love is patient and is kind. Love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, 5doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; 6doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
In this very well known description of love, Paul describes what the life of a person filled with love should look like. This scripture is often read at weddings, because of course love is of fundamental importance in a marriage. This is what true unconditional love looks like, with the emphasis on unconditional. Now that can be hard, even in marriage. “[Love] takes no account of evil.” The NIV translation says “it keeps no record of wrongs”.
“Will you forgive your husband-to-be for leaving his clothes all over the bathroom floor?”
“Of course I will, I love him!”
“And when he does it for the hundredth time? Will you still forgive him?”
So even with the people that we love, it is sometimes hard to live out that love. But unconditional love, that flows from a relationship with Jesus, is not reserved for the people that are easy to love.
Matthew 5:44-47 (WEBBE): 44But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, 45that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?
Being a true follower of Jesus means loving like He does – unconditionally.