I recently read a prayer that I thought hit the nail on the head for what we should be praying as often as possible. (Lord knows I need all the help I can get!!!)
It said, “Dear God, help me to love you and love others today.”
Simple, yet sooooo hard! And I love how this prayer is based on the two commandments that Jesus gave us that all other commands from God are hinged on.
And he said to him, “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. Matthew 22:37-39
Loving God means we are worshipping Him, trusting Him and obeying Him. Sounds easy enough, right?
It’s the loving others that I think is the most problematic!!! I mean, come on, there are a lot of hard to love people out there!!!
However, once again, God doesn’t say “love the people that are easy to love.” He says, “…love your neighbor as yourself.” EEK!!!
I think the best guidance we get on how to love our neighbor is from 1Corinthians, Chapter 13.
- Love is patient.
- Love is kind.
- Love does not envy.
- Love does not boast.
- Love is not arrogant.
- Love is not rude.
- Love does not insist on its own way.
- Love is not irritable.
- Love is not resentful.
- Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing.
- Love rejoices with the truth.
- Love bears all things.
- Love believes all things.
- Love hopes all things.
- Love endures all things.
Don’t you find it interesting that this scripture tells us more about what love isn’t than what it should be?!?!?
I think it’s because God knows that our own egos and agendas get in the way of love more often than not. As humans, we want to be right, rather than loving and that is just not what God wants from us.
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18
God wants us to put ourselves in the backseat and place others above ourselves regardless of the circumstances and that isn’t easy at all because, well, we’re downright selfish most of the time!!
We are number one, right?!?!?! Nope!
Jesus is the example we are supposed to live by and His best illustration of love is that He died for us while we were still sinners. He loved us even while we nailed him to the cross.
So, shouldn’t we work a little harder to love others??
I encourage you to try this prayer and watch what happens. Loving our neighbor can only be done with God’s help!!!
Some Wisdom for Today: Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.