How Can I Know If I'm Loving Others Well? - The Crosswalk Devotional - March 23
The Crosswalk Devotional
By Aaron D'Anthony Brown, Crosswalk.com
How Can I Know If I’m Loving Others Well?
By Aaron D’Anthony Brown
“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.” (John 13:34)
Loving Others Well
Loving others is a concept we often hear about often on Sundays or discuss when we meet up for Bible study. The idea of loving others brings to mind how we serve. Family, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and everyone we come across is a receipt of how we serve if we love.
With various people in our lives, there are various ways to love. We put this into practice as we sit at the dinner table with family, watch movies with friends, or woo our romantic interest. To one degree or another, most, maybe even all of us, know how to love others. But how do we know if we’re loving others well?
Before answering that question, we should probably start with another. How important is loving others? Jesus was asked about the most important commandments, and while loving God was number one, loving others was number two. Here’s what He said:
“He said to him, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.’” (Matthew 22:37-40)
So, how important is loving others? Very. With that in mind, we should not strive to love anyone with halfhearted effort or do things for the sake of doing and pretend that is love. To love is to will the good of another. Therefore, loving others well means considering what’s best for them, not us; what puts them ahead, not ourselves. And we do so all for the glory of God.
Now, like any conversation about love, talking about the general concept is one thing, putting the concept into practice is totally different. We can turn this abstract concept into something more practical by determining if we love others well.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
If you’re trying to figure out whether or not you love others well, then take time asking yourself the following questions.
What are the fruits of my love?
Sometimes how we perceive ourselves is not in alignment with reality. For example, we may think of ourselves as a great communicator, helper, and spouse, when we’re actually not. Figuring out the truth requires introspection on our part and being honest about what we discover. And we shouldn’t just ask ourselves, but other people also, and take into account their feedback.
Am I doing this to serve God or serve someone else, or is this for me?
Intentions matter. If you do things for others with the plan of exacting compensation later, then you’re not serving others from a godly place you’re looking out for yourself. As God has called us to serve, He wants us to do so with Him in mind. Again, love means putting others before ourselves.
How often do I die to my own desires?
Putting ourselves before others is easy, even innate to some degree. However, choosing to die to our own desires over and over again is the mark of a devout Christian.
When I converse, do I focus on myself or the other person?
Many people today carry on conversations that are about one topic only - themselves. And if the conversation moves in any other direction, they pounce on the next chance they get to make themselves the focal point again. If this describes you, practice greater mindfulness when you converse. Talking solely about yourself communicates to the other person not only that you’re more important but that you are not interested or invested in their life.
Do I forgive others just as I hope to be forgiven?
Forgiveness can be a tricky thing. Sometimes we conflate forgiveness with forgetting, and sometimes we trick ourselves into thinking we have forgiven when really we have not. One thing’s for sure, Scripture is clear that if we want forgiveness, we must also forgive.
Who is the first love of my life?
There’s one correct answer to this question, and when that answer becomes your answer, everything else in life tends to fall into place. Not immediately, but eventually. Not in your timing or with everything you want, but eventually and those things that God decides to give you.
With God as the first love of our lives, we not only know how to love, but we know why. And we not only know why, but we know how to love very well.
These questions are but a few of the ones we should ask ourselves periodically, practicing the mindfulness that ensures we are becoming more like Christ daily.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Kharoll Mendoza
Aaron D'Anthony Brown is a freelance writer, hip-hop dance teacher, and visual artist, living in Virginia. He currently contributes work to iBelieve, Crosswalk, and supports various clients through the platform Upwork. He's an outside-the-box thinker with a penchant for challenging the status quo. Check out his short story “Serenity.”
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