Editor’s note: Today’s devotion comes from Woman of God®: Living Loved. The devotion book includes five weeks of daily encouragement that reassures women of the genuine, everlasting love of God through Jesus. Plus, you can use the devotion book as the basis of your women’s retreat this fall. Look for the FREE retreat guide in CTA’s Resource & Idea Center!

Who is it in your life? The ever-critical mother-in-law? The bully boss? The neighborhood gossip? The fraudster who conned away your hard-earned savings? Who seems impossible to love? Does God expect you to love that person? Really?

Our Lord answered that question in the Upper Room the night before he died. Supper was over. The Last Supper. Judas had run from the room, outed by the Savior whom he would soon betray. The stunned disciples raised their confused gazes to meet Jesus’ eyes. There, they saw no disgust, no hatred. Only compassion and love.

Love? Love for the betrayer, Judas? Perplexed, the disciples listened in disbelief to what Jesus said next:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you (John 13:34 ESV).

It’s a commandment, not a suggestion. But how? How can we who have been bruised and broken, disgraced and even ruined by the thoughtless—and sometimes deliberate—words and actions of others still love like Jesus loves?

A good place to begin, perhaps, is to consider Jesus’ everlasting love for us. He loves us in our better moments and when we’re at our most unlovable. Jesus loves us. Period. Completely. Without hesitation. He loved us to death—his own—and he continues to love us: deeply, genuinely, perfectly.

That love is the source of all love. Jesus makes it possible for us to become a kind of “love pipeline” through which his personal, priceless love can flow into the lives of those who have hurt us so much.

Our Savior’s love will also help us put our feelings aside in order to pray for others, even those whose words and actions have wounded us deeply. Touched and healed by his grace, we can ask our Lord to forgive them, bless them, and yes, even prosper them:

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:43–44 ESV).

Our spite, and even our hatred, has been forgiven. That makes it possible for us to forgive and to go on loving—just like Jesus!

Prayer starter: Jesus, help me tear up the IOUs I’m holding, especially . . .

 

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