Nothing else communicates love like a dozen red roses. Or so the advertisement read. Most everywhere you look in the month of February, an advertisement for flowers, chocolates, or jewelry reminds you of the tokens of true love. Yet a closer look at how to authentically love others points us in an entirely different direction.
Welcome to Mindfulness Monday! Where we learn some easy ways to be more present “in the moment” at our jobs, in our homes, with our families and friends.
Learning to recognize God and what He has for us in each divine moment He offers. We acknowledge the belief that God is with us always.
We confess His presence is available to us, lifting our spirit and helping us with power and grace. Learning the art of “stillness” so we can hear His voice and view ourselves, others and our surroundings through His eyes.
Last week’s post plumbed the depths of intentionally loving God with heart, soul, mind and strength. In answer to the question regarding the greatest commandment, Jesus answers by quoting the Shema in Matthew 22:34-37.
But then he adds the second great commandment, “And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)
We find a similar exchange in Luke 10:25-37, where a certain lawyer asked Jesus for the way to eternal life. After pointing the man to the law, Jesus reinforced his words from Matthew 22. Dissatisfied, the man flippantly asks Jesus “who is my neighbor?”
The parable of the Good Samaritan leaves no doubt as to the definition of true love; relating how to authentically love others in a poignant story of compassion.
loving others is not the golden rule
By sharing the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus gives a clear picture of authentic love moving us beyond the golden rule. So often the misinterpretation of this command as treating others as we want to be treated, reduces it to a game of one upsmanship.
While creating an atmosphere of subjectivity, where we become the judges of what constitutes loving authentically.
But the parable of the Good Samaritan exposes selfish and indifferent love, while illustrating an authentic love beyond individualistic standards.
Instead, we see authentic love in action applicable to anyone, at any time in any situation. Jesus moves us beyond a love of reciprocity to a God-like love which loves for no other reason than to love.
In the same way loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, requires a supernatural love foreign to us, authentically loving others demands we source that love from the Holy Spirit.
loving others is not subjective
Full of exhortations for loving others, the entire New Testament calls us to the task as evidence of our love for God. (1 John 4:20) While difficult apart from the Holy Spirit, ultimately God asks we love from the overflow of the fullness of his love within us.
Considering Love, as the fruit of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit removes it from the realm of opinion, personal emotion, preference or prejudice.
All true love flows from God, he loved us first (1 John 4:19), drawing us into relationship with him through the blood of Christ. ( 1 John 4:9) Through God’s love and knowing him, by the power of the Holy Spirit we love others.
Obedience, then to the second great commandment pivots on the intentional pursuit of the first great commandment. For from a love for God encompassing heart, soul, mind and strength, emerges a love for others reflecting his benevolent, faithful love.
using mindfulness for help in loving others
Mindfulness offers an avenue through which we increase awareness of our surroundings, people, and everyday moments. Through mindfulness we also heighten our awareness of the presence of God in those same areas.
Simply taking a five minute mindfulness break at various times throughout your day provides a calming technique for you, connects you to God’s presence in your day, and opens your eyes to opportunities for intentionally loving others.
Grab my FREE Mindfulnes Break Cheat Sheet for instructions on getting the most out of a mindfulness break at the end of this post!
how to authentically love others
We learn much about how to authentically love others from the parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus not only showed us who our true neighbor is, but how to love them. Jesus challenged the social mores of the day by confronting the lawyer with a lesson on love from a Samaritan man.
Just as the Jewish lawyer faced his own prejudice in this parable, we face our own daily, as God presents us with opportunities for loving others.
love takes the initiative
Three men saw the injured man lying in the road; only one acted on what he saw. Having business elsewhere, the Samaritan stopped and attended to the injured man.
Becoming more aware of the people around you, even in the midst of the busiest days, opens your eyes to needs. Staying connected to God’s presence with you, tunes your heart to his leading to love.
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.1 John 3:18
love offers compassion
After taking the initiative, acting upon what he saw, the Samaritan drew closer and upon seeing the unjured man’s true condition, acted in compassion. Both the Levite and priest saw the injured man, but offered no compassion.
Compassion seeks to offer comfort, support and presence, from a heart of mercy and kindness. How can you draw near to someone in need today providing the comfort of presence?
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.Colossians 3:12
love pays the price
Remarkably moved by what he saw, compelled by compassion, the Samaritan used his own resources in caring for the injured man. Ultimately expending the cost of two days wages and the loss of his time, he further offered to pay for subsequent needs.
Love exacts a price. Whether financial, material, or time related, authentically loving others demands a premium. Often it may challenge our emotions, preferences and prejudices, as God leads us out of our comfort zone.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful1 Corinthians 13:4-5
love suffers inconvenience
Loving the injured man required the Samaritan handle the bloodied, naked body of a stranger, placing him and personally supporting him on his own donkey. Additionally altering his own plans by taking the injured man to an inn and providing for his care.
While authentically loving others requires intention fueled by choice, God seldom nestles opportunties neatly into our schedules. At times authentic love is messy, demanding and terribly inconvenient!
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.1 Corinthians 13:7
love stems from mercy
While every one of the Samaritan’s actions demonstrated authentically loving his neighbor; mercy ignited his love and drove his actions.
The center of God’s love for us, mercy compelled the Father to send His Son, who willingly gave his life to redeem us as his peculiar treasure forever. (John 3:16)
Mercy sees the hurting and binds up their wounds, mercy sees the hungry and feeds them, mercy sees the lonely and gives them the gift of presence and mercy sees the marginalized and offers them safety. Mercy impassions love to not only feel compassion, but to fulfill the need.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—Ephesians 2:4-5
authentic love is biblical love
Apart from God, authentically loving others becomes impossible. Selfless, unconditional biblical love surfaces in the heart embraced by the everlasting love of God.
A heart surrendered completely to God authentically loves others from the bottomless fountain of God’s love, lavished upon him from the depths of God’s mercy.
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