"And the second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these." ~Mark 12:31
Is any other scripture so convicting? Yet how easy it would be for those of us with hardened hearts to quickly bypass it. Do we really know our neighbors? And what's to love about them anyway?
The truth is that if our whole heart is surrendered to the Lord, and we truly love Him, we will want to please Him, and we will carry His love in our heart, which will overflow to others. Too, if we truly surrender our entire agenda to Him for His purpose, asking Him to have His way in our day and then be obedient to His guidance, we will know that our jobs are our divine assignments and that the Lord will use us to affect others where He places us. This includes our colleagues.
I recall a time when I worked with a woman I didn't even like, much less love. I knew my heart was being tested, and God was watching. So the first thing I did was get alone with God and confess my lack of love for her.
I knew that 1 John 4:19 tells us that we cannot love God without loving our brother (or sister). Therefore, it is impossible to keep God's first commandment to love God without keeping His second (Mk. 12:30-31). And I did not want to be outside of God's will.
In my desperation, I asked God to fill my heart with His love for my sister. But if I hadn't followed the Holy Spirit's guidance carefully, I might have missed the opportunity because His response came in an unexpected way.
The Lord actually gave this woman and I a pivotal moment where she erupted in angry lamentations before me. As I listened to her, God overwhelmed my heart with pure divine love for her to a point that it overtook every negative and feeling I experienced. His love enabled me to do the right thing, which was to simply hug her and tell her that Jesus loved her. It was a more-of-Him, less-of-me moment.
Through her lamentations, I learned that she was a new Christian, who was having a hard time in life. And she needed a personal touch from Jesus. If I had reacted to her out of my flesh and snapped back at her or avoided her, I would've failed the heart test. What's more, God would've had to get someone else to extend His heart to this woman, and I would've had to retake the test.
I can be a quick learner when my heart is on the line. How about you?
Which of your colleagues do you find difficult to love? Which of them needs a touch from Jesus today? I encourage you to repent, and confess that you cannot love them on your own. Then ask the Lord to fill your heart with His divine love for them, to enable you to love them as He does. You'll find that He'll not only touch their hearts, He'll touch yours too.
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ. This devotional was adapted from Margaret's forthcoming book, Enduring Grace. All rights reserved.