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When a lawyer asked the question, “What is the Greatest commandment?” the reply was that the lawyer must love God, others, and himself. We can observe through this response that the greatest of all the commandments is that you must love. This biblical commandment tells us a lot about the true nature and behavior of love. So, if love can be commanded, then it can’t be only emotional, or a matter of feelings.  It is a matter of a person’s will. That is why the biblical commandment implies that love is a matter of the will of a person.

Love is a commandment followed by a commitment. Although feelings are important, true love functions regardless of how you feel. In Justin Irving and Mark Strauss’s book “Leadership in Christian Perspective,” they state that the biblical foundations and contemporary practice for servant leadership is the desire for leaders to purse kindness, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Irving and Strauss said that conflict is inevitable in any relationship but the key to successful relationships is learning to resolve conflict in a positive and constructive way. Conflicts escalate when anger is met with anger, and a vicious cycle of retaliation and revenge begins. Bitterness and resentment, if allowed to fester, result in retaliation. However, intentionally choosing kindness and compassion opens the way for forgiveness.

It is tough to control our emotions. We can control how we choose to express those emotions but not the feelings themselves. A healthy person can choose to be angry and still choose to act lovingly. A feeling is a reaction. God knew that liking or not liking someone was not always in our immediate control.

So, I have learned that love is, among other things, an action. I can love someone I don’t necessarily like. I can do something or act toward that person in a certain way because I know it is the right thing to do even if I don’t feel warm doing it. And here is the thing, when you act lovingly toward another person, your emotions begin to line up with your actions.

So, go ahead a be a servant leader and lead with kindness, forgiveness, reconciliation as Irving and Strauss suggests. And see if love doesn’t shine through. Never Give Up! Never Give Up! Never Give Up!

By Chaplain Ghosten