CrossReads Weekly Devotional: How to Love in 2021 1/4/21

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by Precarious Yates

The clock rolled from 11:59pm to 12:00am on January 1, 2021, and all the problems from 2020 evaporated. 

I know, I’m laughing too! Laughing because crying is the other option, and there have been a lot of tears already this year. It’s been such a hard year for everyone, and no one has been exempt from the sorrows, the horrors, the strangeness, the fearful, on-edge and masked social distancing. We’ve all been washing our hands until the skin is thoroughly chapped. It was a good year for hand sanitizer and moisturiser manufacturers and a bad year for restaurants, hotels, sports, boutiques, churches, and so, so many kinds of businesses and livelihoods. Hundreds of thousands of people lost jobs, homes, health, and even their lives. 

It’s hard to live through times like this. It’s as if the pendulum has swung and is hitting its peak. Our emotions have followed this pendulum swing. The opposite swing often turns toward apathy, and apathy is the opposite of love.  

How are we supposed to love our neighbors when we can’t come in contact with them? All the usual means of loving others have been banned in favor of social distancing. Hugs. Helping people clean their houses. Babysitting. Cooking meals for others. Hugs. 

How do we love one another? Because the most important thing to carry into 2021 is love. 

We can love one another by being aware of what they don’t say. People seem to be more contentious than usual, especially online. Wonderful people have turned quite trollish. But that tendency is a mask for deeper issues. 

We can run errands for people. We can write letters. We can send gift cards for groceries. We can call, or text, and pray with people. 

We can think of others more often than we think of ourselves. 

What about the people who have very different convictions from me? 

What about people who tell me that I’m hateful? 

What about people who behave selfishly? 

What if, in these current circumstances, I am only able to love on my family? 

The people in our family are people who are in need of love too. We can decide to show love to anyone who comes across our path, and leave guilt behind, because guilt has to do with fear. We are His workmanship created for good works in Christ. If we hunger and thirst to show works of righteousness, we will be satisfied. God will bring those opportunities across our paths. 

And what about this latest news which arrived in December telling us that aliens are real? I mean, that’s real icing on the cake for the whole of 2020. How should we respond to that in light of the gospel? 

We love our neighbors as ourselves. We love, trusting ourselves to God and to His goodness. We love without allowing suspicions and self-preservation to dominate our actions.  

Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount is a good place to anchor ourselves. Jesus shows us the level of trust we need in order to show love in a radical way. This trust isn’t in people. We don’t have to trust people in order to love them. We cast that trust upon the Lord and then we find the courage to love in difficult times.  

How do we love in 2021? With courage. With a whole lot of courage. 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

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