Yesterday, I fessed up about the time that I had to get rid of an idol in my life. (It was a boy!) As I charged into the battle to fight against my sin, my mind started thinking up many different tactics of how to stop idolizing him. Girls, we do the strangest things! When we are trying to get over a boy, one of our most natural responses is to turn him into the kind of person we wouldn’t even want to date. We start thinking bitter thoughts toward him in an attempt to stop admiring him so much. That’s what I did anyway! (I’m not alone in this, right?)
But then I remembered the second greatest command. In Matthew 22:39 Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Love? Him? Really?! God, that’s a lot to ask! I’m trying to stop idolizing him, but at the same time I have to love him? I began finding verse after verse about loving as brothers . . .
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves (Rom. 12:10).
If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother (1 John 4:20–21).
What’s the point of getting rid of idols? It’s so that we can love God above all else, right? Well, these verses tell us that if we hate someone, then we’re not loving God. Think of it this way—have you ever witnessed someone talking bad about someone you love? It hurts, doesn’t it? I imagine that’s how God feels when we are bitter toward that boy we’re trying to get over. God loves them, whether we think they’re worthy of it or not.
That brings up this question: How do I know if I’m really being hateful toward him? The answer can be found by examining what love looks like.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not 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).
Pretty convicting, isn’t it? I feel convicted every time I read this verse. This passage shows us that there is a very long definition of love. It’s impossible to live up to. I find that even when I think I’m loving someone, I’m not really loving them the way I should. It may be that you never even meant to be bitter toward the person! It just comes so naturally . . . sin is in our blood, which is why it’s so good that God’s love never fails. That passage defines God’s love for us! No matter how many times we fail to love someone, God is always waiting with open arms. How can I stop idolizing that boy? There’s only one way. I must run to God and let His perfect love shine through me.