Today is our final day at loving others with a selfless love that is passionately committed to their well-being.
As we talk about loving others the way God loves them, we may need to take a moment to remind ourselves that agape love is described in 1 Corinthians 13. It is patient, kind, humble, unselfish, and overlooks wrongs; that endures difficulties and is hopeful. It is the greatest thing in the world, and it never fails.
But there are a few things that are not mentioned that masquerade as “love” in our culture. 1 Corinthians doesn’t mention constantly seeking someone’s approval or affirmation. It doesn’t mention trying to please everyone and make them like (or love) you. It doesn’t mean avoiding telling them the truth. It doesn’t mention enabling poor decisions under the guise of helping.
Sometimes these things may pass for “love” in an attempt at continuing a relationship or genuinely trying to help. But these are not God’s agape love. Not every relationship should continue. Not everything we want to give should be given. God’s wisdom is needed.
And when we need wisdom, we go at Proverbs. The Book of Proverbs tells us how to apply wisdom to relationships that can be destructive, insincere, difficult, or abusive. You can still be patient, kind, and passionately committed to a person’s well-being, but it might need to involve physical or emotional distance.
Proverbs 4:14-15 tells us to avoid evil people. "Enter not into the path of the wicked and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.” And we need to use discernment as to whether someone can be trusted, even if they appear kind and sincere. Proverbs 26:25 “When he speaks kindly, do not trust him, for seven abominations are in his heart.” We can love wisely using God’s Word our guide and the Holy Spirit as our counselor.
And finally, in the case of loving someone under demonic influence, we see Jesus go directly to the hurting person and free them (Mark 5:1-10). He has given us the authority to do the same. If this is something you may be facing or want to know more about, the book “The Adversary” by Mark Bubeck can be very helpful.
Day 6 Challenge: Love wisely. Is there a relationship that requires extra wisdom to know how to love well? Pray for wisdom and discernment. Apply both 1 Corinthians 13 and the book of Proverbs to the relationship