“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)
Loving someone means that you accept them just the way they are, then allow God to change them in His timing, and in His way. Take it from me, an experienced “I need to change you” veteran. At one point in my life, I could have started a support group and named it “Changers Anonymous”! But I eventually learned the more I tried to change or “fix” people, the worse our relationships became. I would eventually concede, and just let God guide them through the process.
Saying “I love you” to someone can also mean “I promise to keep my ideas about your life to myself”. Since we aren’t God, we have no idea in what direction He is leading them … half the time we don’t even know what direction we’re going in! Before we can truly walk in His agape love, we must first appreciate how much the Father loves us. He has forgiven us of every transgression, and He has washed us by the blood of His Son and made us white as snow. Until the Holy Spirit arrived, we looked just like those we are trying to change. We were liars, cheaters, adulterers, drunkards, addicts, and victims. But worst of all, we were unbelievers! But God spread His blanket of grace over us, blotted out our transgressions and set up shop in our hearts. Because many of us have “been there, done that” with sin, we should be all the more graceful, compassionate, and patient with others.
We all know what fake love looks like, but our world is looking for Christ’s agape love. When we extend His forgiveness and grace to the world, we become compassionate instruments of His righteousness. A legalistic “religious” attitude will make us seem distant and aloof, but compassion for the lost will draw people near. Had God and His love not walked into my life, I shudder to imagine where I would be right now. With God’s help, I turned my “I can change you” opinion into a “look what the Lord has done” belief. I can now let go, fully trusting the Father to change my loved ones and friends.
When we see everyone through His eyes of grace, we can truly love in deed and in truth. Help me do this! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.