Loving Others Compassionately

Once we identify as being in loving relationship with God and his family, our actions will flow from this identity.  We become more like God in our character and actions, becoming less self-centered and more other-centered.  From a place of loving security as a result of God’s love and biblical self-love, we become secure and free to love and serve others without selfish or manipulative motives.  Boa writes, “The more we take pleasure in loving and serving God, the greater our capacity to take pleasure in loving and serving people.” [1]

When God, the son, became incarnate in the man Jesus of Nazareth, his earthly ministry was the ultimate example of loving and serving others, even to the point of suffering and sacrificing his life by death on a cross.  As God’s people, we are to follow Christ’s example of loving servanthood towards others.  The Apostle Paul taught this to the church at Philippi when he wrote,

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Phil 2:5-8).

Following Jesus in a life of loving and serving others will not always be easy.  We will experience moments of pain and suffering from the very people we are loving and serving.  In these moments, we must recognize and lean on God’s grace and forgiveness in our life and extend that to others.  Pain and suffering is momentarily for the people who belong to an eternal God. We are God’s eternal people and must live our lives with an eternal perspective while experiencing pain and suffering from those whom we are in relationships with.  Furthermore, we take no earthly possessions with us when we die, but what we can take with us are the souls of others.  Boa writes, “if we are investing in the lives of people, our investments will accrue dividends forever, since people were made in the image of God to inhabit eternity.” [2]

 

[1] Kenneth Boa. Conformed to His Image: Biblical and Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2001) Google Play edition, 47.

[2] Ibid., 48.