Loving Others Is Never Going to Be Easy
1 Corinthians 13 teaches us this: Love is tough. I think about being patient, kind, humble and forgiving at all times. But I think climbing a skyscraper without a harness might be a much easier feat. We all admire the idea of loving our neighbours just as we love ourselves. But when we are told to get real about it, it's not something we easily buy into.
Loving others is terribly difficult, most especially when they do nothing to deserve it.
There are two things we must come into terms with regarding this: First, God never tells us it's going to be easy (simple, maybe, but not easy). Second, He commands us to do it still.
But even as God has commanded us to love our neighbours as ourselves (Mark 12:31, Matthew 22:39, Luke 10:27), He doesn't leave us to do it on our own. In fact, on our own we won't be able to love others the way God would have us. In the flesh, we are all transactional and selfish people. Whatever we give is either only a result of a comfortable excess or an action that we expect to be reciprocated.
But God calls us to sacrificial love, and the only reason He does that is because He enables us to do so. John 13:34 says this: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."
The only reason why we can love others is because Christ has loved us first. Our love for our neighbour is simply an outflow of the love that God has given to us.
Anyone who is in Christ experiences an outflow of affirmation and affection from God. Just as David says in Psalm 23:5, "...my cup overflows..." we all experience that overflowing love of God. The question is what do you do with that overflow?
The best response to the overflow of God is to share it with others.
That's where ministry, our jobs, careers, family, and friendships start to receive our love, compassion and devotion. We are not naturally generous in giving love, but because God has given us so much of it, we cannot help but pour out the excess to others around us. That's the only time that we start to love our neighbour as ourselves.
Loving your neighbour was never meant to be easy because if it were, then you wouldn't need God's overflowing love and grace to give it to others. But God makes it a challenge so that we will continue to depend on His strength and not our own to love others. God would never have it any other way because He delights in us abiding in Him in relationship so we can live according to the ways He calls us to live in.