14 Days: Sample Day 1
We express the truest kind of love when we give it generously with no expectations for ourselves.
Nat King Cole once sang, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”1 There is truth in that. To love someone and be loved by that person is sweet indeed.
But in Luke 6:32–34, Jesus says, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?”
Jesus bypasses the “easy” love of loving someone who returns your love. He’s far more interested in how you treat someone who isn’t all that loveable—the people we find difficult, irritating, or infuriating.
How do you respond when someone insults you? How do you react when someone cuts you off in traffic? What do you do when someone takes something that’s yours? Jesus challenges us: “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”
To be clear, Jesus is not encouraging abusive relationships. There are times when the most loving thing you can do is to remove yourself from a situation. There’s no room for violence in love.
Rather, his point is to be exceedingly generous with our love and care for others, even when we’re getting nothing in return. This is exactly the way Jesus loves us. Generously, endlessly, unconditionally—even when we don’t return his affection—so that we may be empowered to love others in the same way.
- How do you usually respond to difficult people in your life?
- What gain is there in loving with no strings attached?
Write a message of encouragement to a difficult coworker. Call an estranged friend or relative. Help out a grumpy neighbor. Seek motivation in remembering that Jesus loves you with no thought of reward to himself.