The Hardest Lesson – Love

by Rev Robert A Wendel

“This is my commandment, that you love one another.” John 15:12

It sounds so simple; it turns out to be so hard! To love some others, sure: Some people are easy to love. But if you knew a certain individual in my family. . . my office. . . my neighborhood! To treat all people decently, to be civil, to accord them their rights—that, with great self-control, I may manage. But to love them? The selfish, the arrogant? God alone could love some of the people I have to deal with!

It’s God’s attitude that allows me to love more than I would. Looking at Scripture, we get a sense that first century Christians were drawn to each other by this attitude of love. During Jesus’ lifetime, they understood that their path to the Kingdom stayed true when they put the interests of others ahead of their own. (Acts 4:34) Onlookers reported that there didn’t seem to be a needy person among them. Wherever these first Christians went, healing and prayer followed them.

What happened to this little group that followed the Rabbi from Nazareth? Pentecost happened, so they were blessed by the Holy Spirit, which made them more loving because they had made room in their lives for Jesus.

Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Done,
With all Thy quickening powers;
Kindle a flame of sacred love
In these cold hearts of ours.
Isaac Watts

God, give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Reinhold Niebuhr
(1892-1971)

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