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It’s easy to love when there’s a natural care and concern for the other. Or perhaps we’re simply in a good mood. And certainly our love is not diminished in these moments simply because it comes easy. But, at other times, we must still learn to discipline ourselves and decide to love even when there’s no natural affection motivating us otherwise. 

For instance, it generally takes little effort to desire goodness for our family and friends. Our love for them flows freely from our natural bonds of affection. But, even here, there are times in which we’re in a bad mood personally or experiencing hurt feelings relationally. And in these moments there’s no natural desire to move toward each other in love, even though we still love each other deeply. We must then decide to love even when our feelings are not yet onboard. And while it might seem forced, it’s still a point of integrity. We’re not letting our momentary feelings compromise our deeper desire to love. 

On the other hand, with neighbors, strangers, and certainly with our enemies, a natural desire to love might not be present. Of course, on a good day, or maybe as part of a community project, we might be willing to freely offer gestures of lovingkindness. But often we must simply decide to love whoever God has placed in our path. This doesn’t mean we must become best friends with everyone. But it’s also a reminder that our practice of love is not dependent on our feelings of affection toward the other. We choose to love because God first loved us. 

In the end, continue to love whenever it’s natural and easy. And decide to love even when it’s not. The call to love does not require warm and fuzzy feelings. 

Photo by Matt Forfar on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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