A Prayer to Love Others Well
By Ashley Moore
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.” - 1 John 4:7, NLT
I snarled under my breath at his curt response to my email. This wasn’t our first less-than-pleasant interaction; we often struggled to get on the same page when working together.
Have you ever found yourself at odds with someone? Maybe you complain to your spouse or a friend about how this person grates on your last nerve. Or perhaps you found yourself unable to see the good in this person, overly criticizing their every word and action in your mind.
Does anyone else out there overreact like me, going as far as considering ways you might avoid interacting with this person altogether? The truth is the more we engage with others, the more inevitable conflict becomes. But we have two options when approaching difficult interactions: we can harbor bitterness or show the love of God.
When John wrote his letter to the church there were people who claimed to be prophets and shared false messages in an attempt to turn people against those who preached the good news of Jesus Christ. These people were not only offensive and disruptive but also wrongly teaching the Scriptures. But John did not tell the church to slander these people, criticize them, or avoid them. He simply reminded the church that they already had victory over those people. And he reminded them that the evidence that the church belonged to God would come from how they loved one another (1 John 4:7).
Oof. Is anyone else’s toes hurting? While our squabbles with others may not be as serious as what this church was dealing with, John’s charge still applies to us. Our annoyances with people may not be because they’ve done something as offensive as falsely prophesying, but if John’s instruction to the church for that infraction was to love others, then I imagine his exhortation to us would be similar. Every time we work closely with someone, send email correspondence, or comment on social media is a chance to prove we belong to God because these are opportunities to love others with the same love God has shown us.
So when we find ourselves struggling to relate to someone, huffing in annoyance with another person, or downright avoiding that individual who gets on our nerves, maybe we can pause to consider two things: whose we are and who we are. We are children of God. A God who went to great lengths to love us even though we were unlovable. So, how would a child of God respond victoriously? We show love!
Thank you for loving us when we were very unlovable! While we were sinners you died for us (Romans 5:8). We have offended you deeply, yet you loved us still. So much so, that you gave your life in our place and defeated death so that we could live with you forever in eternity.
Lord, I admit that type of love doesn’t come naturally to me. The last thing I want to do when someone offends me or upsets me is to love them, much less invite them to join my family forever. But that’s exactly what you did. Lord, forgive me for not loving others the way you showed us to love. God, would you help us to love you and grow in the knowledge of you and your Word? Would you help us to relate to others in a way that shows them that we belong to you? Lord, would you make your people grow in love for you and others so that onlookers would know that you exist and that you love them too?
God, would you forgive us when we allow petty annoyances to distract us and make us forget the good news of the gospel and our roles as your ambassadors? Holy Spirit, would you convict us when we overreact to the shortcomings of others? Would you strengthen and equip us to love others well? Thank you that this is possible because you loved us and love comes from you.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Photo credit: Emmanuel Phaeton / Unsplash.com
Ashley Moore is a writer and host of be the two™podcast. She is known for her relatability and for passionately writing and speaking about mental, emotional, and relational health from a biblical worldview. She has written for Kingdom Edge Magazine, Guideposts, Crosswalk, The Secret Place, enLIVEn, The Bubbling Brook and more. If Ashley isn't writing, you can find her with her husband, three children, and two floppy-eared Goldens on their south Georgia farmland. The best way to connect with Ashley is to grab a free devotional or Bible study and join her newsletter at free.ashleynicolemoore.com.
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