Let mutual love continue. Hebrews 13:1
It’s that simple. It’s that important. Nurture the love that you share in community, and let it continue.
Sometimes, we don’t feel loved. We assume we’ve been neglected or our viewpoints rejected. Mutual love breaks down. The feeling of disconnection grows. Mutual love dies out like a burning candle that has reached the end of its wick.
This concluding chapter to the book of Hebrews includes other exhortations: show kindness to strangers, those imprisoned or suffering, remain faithful if married, imitate your spiritual leaders, do not be led astray and continually offer praise to Jesus, do good, share with others and pray.
It seems to me that when mutual love breaks down, the ability to live into the rest of that falters. The mission of Christ’s church breaks down. The mission of any organization breaks down if people don’t truly care about one another.
So how do we nurture love with one another when the disconnect has happened?
I don’t have an easy answer for this, but I will offer what personal life and faith experience has taught me. Be honest. Assume the best in others. Pray. Imitate Christ. Seek spiritual guidance in confidence to grow but not in spite of another. You can’t change others’ behaviors. You can only change your own behavior. When differences seem irreconcilable, it feels like the most loving thing to do is to make a permanent break, for the sake of one’s health or the health of the community or both.
But remember this. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
When our love for one another falters, Jesus’s love for us and for the world remains consistent and eternal. Divine love will not fail us. God remains trustworthy.
Who is someone you are struggling to continue loving? What is one action you can take to nurture love in a healthy way?