As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34b, ESV)
What does it mean to love as Jesus loves?
Love is transformative. Whether a person knows Christ or not, love can change the life and world of any given person.
When a person does know Christ, though? Love is something different then. The love we show each other is supposed to be modeled after the perfect love shown to us by Christ.
So, what does it mean to love as Christ has loved? How, exactly, does Christ love?
Christ loves us completely. He loves us powerfully. He loves us unashamedly.
That’s all true, and the list could go on and on. I’m not sure we have enough words in the English language to fully describe the perfect love of Christ. (And words are kind of my thing, so you can imagine how difficult it is for me to say that!)
Here’s one more word, though, to describe Christ’s love for us.
Christ loves us sacrificially.
In today’s society, we often think of sacrifice as a grand or noble notion that belongs to other people but that doesn’t have a lot of merit in the everyday nitty gritty of our own lives. We look at our servicemen and women, the firefighters, police officers, and other first responders, and we accept that sacrifice is built into the very fabric of their lives. We see parents who go without so that their children don’t have to, and we accept that as good and right.
When we look in the mirror, though, we tend to see a list of reasons why we shouldn’t have to sacrifice.
I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at; I should be able to enjoy it.
I shouldn’t have to be the one who always sacrifices. Let somebody else do it this time.
I don’t ask for much; I just want this one thing to be mine.
Honestly, the list is endless. These probably aren’t even the best excuses that to avoid sacrifice.
The thing is, though, that Jesus tells us to love as He has loved. Without excuse. Without avarice. Without ego. We’re to love sacrificially, which, in its own way, means to love selflessly.
Can we take that same type of love and show it to the world around us?
If we love our coworkers sacrificially, will it change our workplace for the better or for the worse?
If we love our siblings sacrificially, will family reunions be easier or more difficult?
If we love our neighbors sacrificially, will those fence-line conversations be more peaceful or tension-filled?
If we love our significant other sacrificially, will we give (and receive) more joy or more heartache?
Christ’s love for us is transformative. We are changed by the power of His love.
If we love others as Christ has loved us, our relationships stand a really good chance of being transformed as well.
Sure. We won’t always get the last piece of pizza…or the last word. In its place, though, we will get to take part in the power of Christ’s love at work in our own life and the lives of the people we come into contact with.
It sounds like a win-win to me. What do you think?