When I went for my run one night, I was fuming. How could she treat me like this? Surely if I had been in the same situation I would have been more kind and considerate. But then I remembered. I am in that situation. The Lord has loved me graciously and abundantly in spite of all that I have done. And even though I know that I am the recipient of his love and I have experienced it in so many ways that I can see and point to, I still do not respond in the way that the Lord deserves.
So I was wrong. I'm not very good at loving people when it doesn't benefit me or I don't see a response. When I enjoy spending time with someone, loving them is easy. But I am called to love regardless. What that love looks like is different in different situations. But my response must not be to base my love on the love that I feel I am receiving. In Jesus, I am more loved than I can ever describe or imagine. And that is enough. And so by the grace of God, I am growing in my loving.
"Here is a spiritual principle: We cannot exercise love unless we are experiencing grace. You cannot truly love others unless you are convinced that God’s love for you is unconditional, based solely on the merit of Christ, not on your performance. John said, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Our love, either to God or to others, can only be a response to His love for us." - Jerry Bridges