2 Corinthians 5:14-15 – For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
It requires far more of the constraining love of Christ to love our cousins and neighbors as members of the heavenly family, than to feel the heart warm to our suffering brethren in Tuscany or Madeira. To love the whole Church is one thing; to love–that is, to delight in the graces and veil the defects–of the person who misunderstood me and opposed my plans yesterday, whose peculiar infirmities grate on my most sensitive feelings, or whose natural faults are precisely those from which my natural character most revolts, is quite another. ELIZABETH CHARLES.
Constraining love is what the love of Christ pushes us to do for others when it may not be pleasant to us. True love gives without expecting anything in return. Christ was constrained to die on Calvary for you and me. He did not die for himself but for us. The Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines constrain as
to strain; to press; to urge; to drive; to exert force, physical or moral, either in urging to action or in restraining it.
The love of Christ helps us do what our flesh would not normally allow us to do. We may strain, we may need to exert force to put this flesh down and love the unlovable because of Christ’s sacrifice. As Mrs. Charles states it is easier to love someone far removed from us in a terrible plight than to love our family or brothers and sisters in Christ who are near by. Do we delight in the graces and try to cover a multitude of sin in others around us? If the love of God constrained Christ to go to Calvary for us, to leave the throne of heaven, surely we can quit living life for ourselves and start living for him. Christ died for all, not just the elect as the hyper-Calvinist would have you believe. Because he died for all and loved all, so should we.