Love-- agapao (G25): to be full of good will and exhibit the same, to regard the welfare of, to be fond of, to wish well, to love dearly
*Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
"Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse from the feelings, it does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered. Love seeks the welfare of all, Rom 15:2, and works no ill to any, 13:8-10; love seeks opportunity to do good to 'all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith,' Gal 6:10. See further 1 Cor. 13 and Col 3:12-14."
*Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
If you are a Christian, and have ever gone to church, then you are probably aware of the commandments to love as outlined by Jesus in Mark 12:30-31.
It is the pillar of our Christian walk. Yet, a more in depth study of the Scriptures as well as unpacking and defining the word "LOVE" reveals its depth, and requirements.
In taking advantage of a teachable moment on kindness, compassion, and love with my daughters, the teachable moment really became mine! In sharing with my girls, the Lord gave me a revelation of Jesus' act of selfless love and compassion in the midst of great personal pain. I pray that you would receive it:
We know the Crucifixion was God the Father's ultimate expression of love for humanity (John 3:16), right? We also know that it was a brutal, heinous, painful, and humiliating death. We further know that Jesus experienced exhaustion and extreme thirst (John 19:25-28). In the midst of all of this, Jesus modeled the type of unconditional love, compassion, care, and desire for another person's well-being. This is why I love Him! When one of the malefactors (who was being crucified next to Jesus), asked Jesus to remember him, Jesus did not ignore him or proclaim that He was having a pretty bad day too. No, rather he immediately began to minister to this dying man . There was no hesitation to offer this man, who was riddled with pain and discomfort, words that would bring comfort, peace, and eternal security (Luke 23:39-43). Jesus' response is our key for living. He did not respond from a soulish place as we so often do when we are facing personal pain.
Unfortunately, comments like, "I've got problems of my own" or "I'm having a bad day too" do not model the character of Christ. Further, statements like these are missed opportunities to offer hope and encouragement to a dark and lost world. A bad day does not exempt us from walking in love and displaying compassion toward our fellow man, nor does it give us a pass to be mean, flippant, indifferent, or unkind. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves even when it seems inconvenient. This is what the Body of Christ is called to do.
Yes, we all have problems, hardships, difficulties, challenges, etc. There are days when we feel agitated, irritable, funky, overwhelmed, mentally drained, exhausted, and simply want to be left alone. That's real. We are human. Yet, there is never a time in which we are excused from showing love and being interested and concerned with the well-being of another soul.
It's a spiritual discipline to model compassion in the midst of pain, but the capacity for us to obey the commandments of Mark 12:30-31 is within us because we have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16) and we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13)!