Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
The bible teaches on the subject of love thoroughly, but sometimes I think we're still missing it. Proverbs 10:12 says, "Hatred stirs up strife but love covers all sins." Still I say, we're missing something. My wonderful older sister, Rona and I were having a conversation in her kitchen once about really loving each other better and we were expressing that we had to have Jesus help us in order to pull that off. Her son, who'd been overhearing our conversation from the living room, walked in and asked us an incredibly poignant question. It could have easily been taken as disrespectful and even mocking. My sister even initially tried to correct his potentially inappropriate attitude but I stopped her and said, "Wait, he's actually asking a really important question here." What he'd said was, "I'm sorry but everything you two are talking about seems so no-brainer to me! I mean, don't you know you should love each other and be kind to each other and all of that? I just don't understand why you need Jesus for that!" I thought quietly for a minute then answered.
"I'm going to tell you the truth. I have tried to love people well, and I've tried to be kind and take care of those I love, but I have never found the ability to do it well without the help of Jesus and that's just the truth of the matter for me."
It would be years before I fully understood what I was even talking about that day. Here's the revelation and clarity I've gained since then. You can not give what you do not have. If you do not feel loved by God, you will not have enough love in your tank to give love away. You will find yourself running on empty very quickly and you won't realize what's wrong or why you can't seem to pull off loving others well. It is the love of Jesus that covers all sin - not people independent of His love, because it is not possible to manufacture love within ourselves without His love first filling us up again and again and again. When I attempt to set this impossible bar of expecting to be able to find enough love within myself, on my own without Jesus, to give to those I should be loving well, I am walking in a form of self-idolatry without realizing it. I'm no longer recognizing the source of all love. I'm not coming to that fountain to drink and I've become "love-dehydrated" so to speak, and just like water I have to keep "drinking" His love every day, all day! It's not a one time fill up and you're done. It's a constant flow of His love until you are living in a state of love, and it is out of that state - that condition of love, that then, and only then, you can begin to love others well.
This has been proven over and over to me by the simple little activity of worship. I can go into worship - whether that's on Sunday morning or on a walk to the mailbox, and the minute I enter that place in worship, gratitude, and connection with Him where I feel His love, any frustration with another person immediately just falls off of me and washes away and love for that person immediately returns in full. This is what I believe we are missing when we misinterpret those scriptures without bringing them into the full context of the word of God. For me, it becomes crystal clear in 1 John chapter 4 which tells us that "God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them." and just before that it actually says, "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." The word "know" here can mean "is intimately, constantly in [a state of] love with"
So, let's stop beating ourselves up for not measuring up in this area. Let's receive the grace from above and let His love reign and rule in our relationships. I've been so, so guilty of this and I'm so thankful to know this truth that literally sets me free from self-condemnation when I feel I've failed at love. It's such a blessed and simple fix. He doesn't just show us how to love and then say "now go do that!" He actually gives us this love for others. He pours it into us like water until we are overflowing and that overflow belongs to others. It is a literal miraculous gift of grace and all we have to do to get it is get in under and receive His overflow of love! Wow! That's so fantastic! Thank you Jesus.
If you do not know how to connect with this love from Jesus or you've been feeling cut off or blocked from it, please don't hesitate to email me or reach out. I would love to pray for you and encourage you in this!
LOVE to all,