"Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
- Matthew 22:37-39
God loves you. That’s why He created you. Jesus says in turn we are to love God and love others.
There is a natural flow of unfiltered love coming from God into each of us and then back to God and out to others. Sounds perfect. Problem is, I don’t know about you, but I’m not perfect.
God’s love to me is perfect and unfiltered, but my love to others is far from unfiltered.
What would it look like for us to express the same unfiltered love we receive from God?
“Unfiltered” - In the age of social media, we often see “#nofilter” when someone posts a photo that has not been altered or enhanced. Reflecting on my love of all things food, I immediately think of unfiltered products such as unfiltered olive oil, apple juice and honey. Products that are in their truest and most natural state. Unfiltered honey, for example, is far better for you than the processed and filtered version. This leads me to believe that unfiltered love would also have some additional benefits.
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24
Our unfiltered love would be sweet to the soul and bring healing to the bones. Count me in. Now I just have to figure out how to tap into that honeycomb so the love can pour out.
Unfortunately, I have built some filters in my heart that are blocking the flow of God’s unfiltered love.
I want to share a few with you today in the hopes that you might also relate to some of these filters and perhaps be willing exchange them for the unfiltered version that God designed for each of us:
Filter: If I open my heart and love without holding back, I will be setting myself up to be hurt. It will put me in a position of weakness. What if he or she doesn’t love me back? Or if they reject my love altogether?
Unfiltered: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4:18
Unfiltered love does not expect anything in return. If expectations are removed, fear loses its power.
Filter: I only have so much love to give. If I continue to pour into others without receiving anything in return, I won’t have enough love to give to those who love me back or those who really need it.
Unfiltered: There is an endless supply of love when we look to God as our source to fill us. “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 1:14
Filter: Her life is so blessed. She has so many friends and is surrounded by people who love her. She already has enough love, so I’m not going to show her any additional love. I’ll reserve it for someone who I believe needs it more.
Unfiltered: You have no idea what she is really going through. Don’t assume someone else is going to give love. God is calling you to bring His love. For real though…have you ever received too much love?
Filter: I am not good enough or worthy to love them or they are not worthy of receiving my love.
Unfiltered: You are both made in the image of God, so you are both worthy because of Him.
Filter: How will they receive my love? Will they think I have ulterior motives? Will other people think I am just trying to gain favor by showing love?
Unfiltered: What does it matter? Show love anyway.
Filter: If they show me love first, then I will show them love in return.
Unfiltered: “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19. Because God loved us first, with a raw, unfiltered love, we are able to love others with the same unfiltered love.
If we surrender to God, each of these filters can be removed, and we can experience loving our neighbor the way Jesus intended. The unfiltered love of God will flow freely into our hearts and out of our hearts to others.
If this seems impossible, let me encourage you with a real-life example I witnessed this weekend:
A friend allowed cameras and microphones to be hooked up to her and her husband on a very vulnerable weekend retreat where they shared raw, unfiltered emotion about a broken marriage and the healing power of God. Loving others so much that they were willing to let the whole world into an extremely private part of their lives in an effort to help other married couples experience healing.
That’s unfiltered love.
How willing are you to be raw and unfiltered for the benefit of someone else?
What filters do you need to remove to let God’s love flow freely in and through your life?