Faith Corner with Kiri & Cliff

"Love must be sincere..." -Romans 12:9

Have you ever read a statement and it cut you to the quick? Romans 12:9 has been such a statement for me this week. I grew-up in a home where politeness is highly-valued, and within the "Christian culture," civility and being "nice" is highly esteemed. All this to say, that regardless of how I'm "feeling" I am compelled to smile and use pleasant words, even if my insides are twisted with anger and resentment. I've been okay with this kind of duplicity for a long time, but within the last couple of years I've begun to realize that there's a greater and deeper transformation that God is inviting me, and each of us, to experience, if we are willing.

Opposition to such transformation arises because our nature as humans is to focus on ourselves and our needs. We're unable to look past ourselves because we instinctively look at life through a lense that puts us at the center of our own personal universe. God wants to change this perspective. Before we are able to experience in the reaches of our hearts the kindnees that we like to display on the surface, we need to know that we are unconditionally loved and that our deepest relational needs for love, understanding and acceptance have and will be met. Without having our most essential needs met, we cannot hope to look past them to the needs of others. We must start by experiencing the lavish gift of God's extravagant love.

In my personal quest to deepen my understanding of God's love, I spent a whole semester asking the question, how is God expressing His love to me today? In the beginning, I found this question hard to answer. Perhaps my flair for the dramatic desensitized me from noticing the myraid of small, but constant ways God was answering my prayers, encouraging me, and blessing me. However, over time, I began to literally "taste and see" that God is good as I daily counted my blessings. Whether it was favor with my teachers, making a new friend or even finding a parking space, I began to see God's grace and faithfulness in all of it and I became overwhelmed by the way He showers me with His love.

I've come to the conclusion that the first step in loving others unconditionallly is to first recognize and receive God's unconditional love for me. If I want to love others with sincerity and integrity, I must never lose sight of how God has loved me with a satisfying, fulfilling, freeing, perfect love.

"but the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith." -1Timothy 1:5

Kiri Cohu and her husband, Cliff, are directors of SMC Christian Challenge
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