Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10 NRSV)
The unconditional love of God is at the center of our faith. If God so loves us, so much that he came and lived—and died—among us (“moved into the neighborhood”, to quote Eugene Peterson), how can I not love others, especially my sisters and brothers in the faith? The love I have received freely overflows out of my gratitude of God’s very own unconditional love for me.
When I think of the above verse, I think of certain people in our church home group. I won’t name them lest they be embarrassed (you may know them, after all), but they are my models of this kind of love. They take care to honor each other in public (in the group and in our church) and they are never snarky.
They do more than talk, and as Bishop Michael Curry says: “This love is a verb: It’s an action, with force and follow-through. When we pull love out of the abstract, really put it to work, it starts to reveal its extraordinary power. Love as an action is the only thing that has ever changed the world for the better.” I can only nod my head in agreement.
God’s love wins.
What does this love look like—it’s giving the “weakest” brother or sister their right to their opinion, and their right to say it, unjudged. It’s letting the other person have their wish—serving and spending time on a project that does not “serve” us, but serves someone else, with no expectation of thanks.
Prayer of Response:
“Lord, help us to put away our snarky words and move towards selfless love, a love that expects nothing in return for what we do. Just as your son gave his life for us, let us give of ourselves for our sisters and brothers. Thank you for this word that reminds us that love is really the goal.”
—Submitted by Patty Jehle
Patty Jehle, M.A., is a US/Swiss citizen who has been living in Switzerland for over 25 years. She is married to Patrik and has three adult children. She is currently teaching at the FHNW in Brugg, is a certified spiritual director (New Way Ministries), and is a certified EASC coach and supervisor with her own business.)