A couple of weeks ago I came across a phrase that intrigued me. I think it was on Facebook. You have to understand that I sort of collect titles. I really don’t care what the book or article is about, I just like some of the titles. A good title communicates the message long before anyone reads the text.
So I read, “Love is a person inside,” and I began to think. It’s true. If I want to know what love really is, there is a person who can tell me. A person inside.
Now, you understand that I write from a Christian perspective. I believe in Jesus. I believe that He is alive and active. I believe that He is with me and that He loves me. I believe that, when I came to Him for salvation, He exchanged His perfect life for my broken life and now He lives in me and I in Him. No, I don’t fully understand all of this, but it is what the Bible teaches and it is what I have personally experienced.
So, the person inside me is Jesus. That means something, something very practical when it comes to love.
First, it means that love is inside me. The Lord loved me so much that He gave me new life and marked me as His forever by living within me. The life in me today is Jesus. My goal for the rest of my earthly days is to live in and through that life within me, rather than in the pattern of the old life I used to have.
The truth of the Christian life is that you are loved. You are acceptable and accepted in Jesus. He will never reject you and His heart toward you is always positive. He always wants the best for you and nothing will come between you and Him. Even when you fail in some way, He is there and He accepts you. His love is truly unconditional.
But there is something more. In those times when I find it hard to love someone (and there are those times), there is Someone inside me who does love that person. When I get past myself and my feelings, I realize that the life in me, Jesus, already loves that person.
Yes, I believe that Jesus loves all people, no matter who they are or what they have done. I do not believe that all are saved, as some are saying. I do not believe that all are going to be welcome in Heaven, as some are saying. But I do believe that Jesus went to the cross to make salvation available to all people—because He loved all people. I don’t care about skin color, language, culture, background, current religion, or time in history. Jesus loves all people.
So that person who cut me off in traffic, that person who cost me my job, that person who hurt someone I care about, and that person who wants to hurt me—all are loved by Jesus. That does affect how I think about them.
This has nothing to do with their behavior or whether they are loveable. They are still accountable for their sins and still answerable to justice. We have all seen the amazing situation where the family of a young person forgives their child’s killer. But that forgiveness does not stop justice. The murderer may still be executed and, perhaps, should still be executed. But the family is free of hate and bitterness. How is that possible? For most, it’s because of a person inside.
If you belong to Jesus, let Him love that person you cannot love. Don’t force yourself to do anything. Just know that the Person inside you is loving, even when you struggle. You will find your heart changing as you accept that Jesus loves the person you cannot.
No, I don’t think this is inconsistent or unreasonable. I think this is the Christian love we all talk about, but rarely experience. We think Christian love is something we are supposed to do from ourselves: our sacrifice, our kindness, our forgiveness. But that isn’t right.
Christian love is not our love. Christian love flows from the Person inside.