Romans 12 says to let brotherly love be genuine.
Well, that's easy enough with my friends, isn't it? When I love the people that are easy to love and who love me back...
But God didn't leave it at 'let love be genuine'.
God said to love our neighbors. Not the person living next door, but the person-- whoever they are-- who needs forgiveness, or who needs mercy or help.
Well, that narrows it down, doesn't it?
We're supposed to love everyone, then. And we're supposed to love them genuinely.
And that means sacrificial love.
Sacrificial love for people who, in our flesh, we might not really like.
But they are God's children, whether they acknowledge it or not, and God loves them.
And we're supposed to be the extension of that love.
Which is a good thing. A really, really good thing.
Because I can't sacrificially, genuinely love my friends all the time, much less people I find hard to love.
"Good news?" you say. Yes, good news.
Because if I'm the extension, I'm not the source.
He is the vine, I am the branches.
God is the source of that love, and in order for me to sacrificially, genuinely love My Neighbor I need to be tapped into him. Sacrificial, genuine love isn't easy. It takes energy and effort. And an act of God, literally.
God showed us how much he loved us. He did not decide to play it safe and enjoy heaven but to come to earth and live life with us. And let us kill him. He died for us, and in so doing saved us from ourselves and our inadequacies.
God died for you.
God loves you.
And now God wants you to share that love with Your Neighbor.
To share it with anyone who needs forgiveness, mercy or help.
And the only way you can do that is by staying connected to the source of all forgiveness, mercy, help and love-- God himself.
Let love be genuine.