Love like Jesus. So hard to do … or is it?
Have you walked into church and, as you made your way down the hall, warmly greeted some but totally ignored others? I’ve done this. Many times. For a variety of reasons.
But what does Scripture tell us about how we are to interact with others? Well, 1 John 4:20 says, “… the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” And Jesus told us to “… love your neighbor as yourself.’”
So who are my “brother” and my “neighbor”? And what does Jesus mean by “love?”
Can We Really Love Like Jesus?
By “brother” and “neighbor” Jesus doesn’t just mean our family or the people who happen to live in our same neighborhood. He literally means everyone — our family, neighbors, strangers, even our enemies. Which means we have our work cut out for us.
I’m still struggling to love my brothers and sisters in Christ. But I’m supposed to love everyone? Why would Jesus give such a hard assignment? Because He knows we’re capable of doing so, with His help.
Is my casual friendliness “love?” Or is it just a warm and fuzzy feeling because I happen to know and like these people? How can I make sure I offer real love — His love — to all people?
In a very practical way, Mother Teresa provided a great example of how to love like Jesus.
In her work with the poor, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient followed Christ’s call to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, to visit the imprisoned, to care for the homeless and the sick. In doing so, she met their deeper need for love and dignity:
- The hungry “hunger not only for bread, but for love. For the tender concern of someone who cares.”
- Clothe the naked, “and not only with a piece of cloth, but with that beautiful dignity of a child of God. Dignity for someone who has been created to be loved and to love.”
- Tend to the sick who are sick “not only in body, but sick at heart.”
- The imprisoned are trapped “not only with a lack of freedom, but are limited in life. Bound by fear, by the mind, by the imagination.”
Can you imagine Jesus walking past you or me with just a nod or casual wave? No way! Jesus would look straight into our soul and pierce our heart with His love. We would have no doubt that He really saw us — and that in His eyes, we have immeasurable worth.
Jesus was continually moved by compassion … we should see what Jesus sees, so we can do what Jesus does. ~ Christine Caine, global activist
God Believes We Can!
So how can you and I be intentional in sharing His amazing love with others?
We can start by being attentive. We can really look at the people He places around us and see them. Like Mother Teresa, we can take the time to notice their need, to then tangibly share His love through our actions. This might be just sharing an encouraging smile or a compliment. Or offering someone our seat. Or even more of our investment; perhaps buying a bag of groceries or giving away our favorite coat.
Look around. Is someone hungering for connection with others? Is someone struggling with fear, uncertainty, or doubt? If so, can you be their safe haven? We often hide our inmost trials from others, but in doing so, we miss out on the joy of serving those that God places in our daily path.
Break through the emotional boundaries that separate you from others. If you’re shy, you can bet that there are shy people around you that are hoping that you’ll greet them first. If you’re preoccupied with your own problems, take your thoughts off yourself and invite God to use you to pour His love on others.
It’s not easy making the effort, I know. Lately I’ve been trying to be super friendly at the grocery store. I smile and say hello to anyone I pass, if I can get their attention. Most people ignore me. Others give me weird looks. I get it. But isn’t this the good kind of weird that God wants in His followers?
Go love like Jesus! Just don’t be too weird about it … or too shy, either. He’ll be so be proud of you. As Christine Caine reminds us, “Doing good is very hard work. But we can do hard things. We were born for such a time as this.”
God wants a relationship with you! Click here to learn about His holy nature!
Written by guest blogger Dan Muenchau, a retired engineer who now works to help bring the love of God to others.