The love Jesus commands us to show to one another has little to do with warm feelings; in fact, he commands us to show love even when it is the last thing in the world we feel like doing (Luke 6:27-28). The love that Jesus wants us to show for one another leaves no room for unresolved conflict:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, nor is it self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor 13:4-7)
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 48.
Food for Thought
Do you remember the verse that comes in 1 Corinthians right before the above quote? In 1 Corinthians 13:3, Paul reminds us that even the actions that seem the holiest become worthless if not performed with an attitude of love. If it is possible to “give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames” and yet “gain nothing”, as Paul indicates, then how much more is it possible for us to make peace and resolve conflict and yet have not love? Without love, peacemaking is, at best, a helpful interpersonal relationship technique and, at worst, a clever manipulation. We should never permit ourselves to rely so much on our training or techniques that we fail to examine our hearts each time we seek to reconcile others in the name of Jesus.
On the other hand, when both our attitude and actions in peacemaking are filled with love, look at how Paul’s words encourage us: Peacemaking protects. Peacemaking trusts. Peacemaking hopes. Peacemaking always perseveres! This is only possible when the Holy Spirit works in us to enable us to truly love those from whom we are estranged, or to help others to love when they are estranged from one another.