1. The command to love comes in the context of our new identity: God has given you new life in Jesus, brought you into a relationship with himself, and loves you deeply. Before you are called to love, you are first God’s beloved. Why is important that we remember this order? What happens when we detach the command to love from our identity as the Beloved and the grace that empowers us to love?
2. God not only empowers us to love but also points us to the Gospel for a paradigm of love. By sending Jesus into the world to die for sin, God has shown us that love gives, love is costly, and love manifests itself (rather than love remaining a feeling in us). Discuss what this kind of love might look like in our community. Share an example of how you’ve seen this love in Christian community.
3. We are finite with limited resources an cannot love everyone in the body in the same way. And that’s ok. We have to trust that we are part of a larger work that God is overseeing. Rather than feeling like I have to love the 100 in the same way, I can pour myself into a few that God has placed in my path. Is that a liberating truth? Discuss.
4. God knows we are broken lovers who damage one another by not loving well. Yet he still chooses to make himself visible through us! In His hands, the messiness we create by not loving one another is the backdrop for God to make himself visible through our repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, and redeemed relationships. In other words, if you’ve damaged others by not loving well (let’s be honest, we all have), it’s never too late to re-engage with love. God will make his cross-shaped love know through you. How is that comforting news for you right now?