I recently finished a book called A Loving Life in a World of Broken Relationships by Paul Miller. In A Loving Life, Miller walks through the book of Ruth, gleaning wisdom about how to live a loving life in difficult circumstances. Reading the book cultivated in me a deeper desire to love others self-sacrificially in the best way I possibly can.
Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
10 Lessons on Living a Life of Love
- We need to love with hesed-commitment (hesed is the Hebrew word for covenant love, often translated lovingkindness) even when we feel cranky or have fragile spirits. Long-term love often requires the painful and unnatural practice of self-sacrifice. “Commitment-love lies at the heart of Christianity. It is Jesus’ love for us at the cross, and it is to be our love for one another.”
- When something upsets us in a relationship, we need to be aware of the human tendency to withdraw emotionally, seek revenge, or enter into fantasy worlds (like porn or romance novels) to help our wounds.
- Don’t over-lament when people hurt you because over lamenting leads to bitterness. We need true hope to help us heal from difficult things, and that hope is found in Christ.
- The ability to love comes from God.
- When we love others during our suffering, we are able to fellowship with the suffering Christ. “For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” 2 Corinthians 4:11
- Limitations in love (like marrying one person) provides the framework for love. A special kind of love isn’t special if it is shared with everybody.
- To love people going through hard times, lamenting with them and weeping with them is often better than a false and disconnected type of comfort provided by trite sayings and downplaying their pain.
- When we are wronged, avoid self pity because that is another form of self-righteousness that isolates and leads to both pride and idolatry. We need to forgive as Christ has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32).
- Loving difficult people well doesn’t automatically lead to their repentance (although it might). They need to hear about their mistakes from God’s perspective, hear the truth, and desire change.
- To love difficult people, it is helpful to remember that often we only see God’s work after the fact. Do what you need to do to show them a committed love, obey God, and God will do his part.
What else would you add? Share in a comment below.
Subscribe to my blog on the top right of this page for more Christian encouragement, resources, book recommendations, and more.