Sometimes, the simplest commands and exhortations in the Bible can be the hardest to follow, don’t you think? It’s not like Paul wrote in this passage from 1 Corinthians 16, “Let most of what you do be done in love,” or even “Let about half of what you do be done in love.” Nope! Instead, he used the word “all” – meaning that in all things we should strive to be loving.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “That is easier said than done.” I am inclined to agree – particularly if you undertake such an endeavor in your own [limited] strength. Indeed, without the Holy Spirit, such a task is impossible – and even with His help, it can still be pretty challenging.
From my perspective, it is the motivation behind the action is that is most important. So long as our motivations and intentions are loving, then I believe that God honors these efforts, even when they seem to fall on “deaf ears”. If a person flatly rejects earnest and kindly-meant actions (done in Jesus’s name), then that matter is between him and the Lord. I am not responsible for the other person’s reaction – only for taking the initiative to (wisely) model the others-focused love that God so generously showers on us.
It also doesn’t mean that I should have an expectation that others will always respond to me in a loving way. 😢 I certainly hope that they will, but based upon my understanding of the Bible, this isn’t necessarily God’s perspective on it. After all, consider Jesus – He loved everybody! – but He still was given a hard time by most people.
In my view, the bottom line is that we are to try to treat everyone in a loving way (it’s not always possible, but we should at least make the effort) and then leave the next steps – if any – squarely in the Lord’s hands. ♥️