There’s a reason why I’ve recently been blogging about both loving hurting, broken and lost people, and about knowing the Father’s love and growing in intimacy with Him.
It’s because they’re intrinsically linked.
To be honest, you could love other people for a number of different reasons: because it’s the “Christian” thing to do, because of feelings of guilt or obligation, out of a heart of justice, to make you feel good about yourself, and so on.
But to truly love those who are not easy to love in a genuine, sacrificial way - the way Jesus taught us to love (Luke 10:27-37; Matt. 5:43-48) - and without burning out and without losing joy… you need to live with a real knowledge of God’s love for you as His dearly beloved child.
If you have repented of your sin, have accepted by faith the free gift of forgiveness that Jesus bought for you at the cross, and have fully entrusted your life to the Lord, then you are in Christ and have been made a son/daughter of God (Galatians 3:26)! Which means that God has become your perfect Father (and Mother*) and loves you with a pure, unconditional, unchanging love - the same love He has for Jesus because you are in Christ!
No wonder the apostle John couldn’t contain himself when he wrote, 'See what [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are!' (1 John 3:1, AMP)
And you know what, when you begin to grasp the depth and richness of the Father’s love for you, and live each day growing in that knowledge, it is the most energising, joyful, life-giving fuel that compels you to be devoted to God in all that you do and to love every person with a love that is supernatural, introducing our spiritually fatherless world to the Father.
And that, I believe, is what is at the very heart of being a Christian.
* God calls Himself “Father” but He also completely encapsulates motherhood as well. See: Isaiah 66:3; Isaiah 66:13; Psalm 27:10; Matt. 23:37.