“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Jesus’ command seems simple and achievable at first: “love one another.” But then, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Well, that’s a little different. Jesus left the riches of heaven to be draw near to us and taste what we experience—the suffering, the limits, the fears, and unmet desires. And then he was betrayed, beaten, and crucified though he was innocent. He loved so much that he endured wrongful punishment, faced false accusations, and ultimately gave his life. So, what makes Christ followers different is that instead of going with the flow and avoiding pain as much as possible, we are called to be the ones who dive headfirst into the pain and the hard stories of the people we encounter. We can declare that we won’t stand and watch humanity be swallowed by pain and suffering, but will take a risk to reach out in love.
Who has been a consistent presence for you in the midst of your seasons of pain or difficulty? How have they shown up? Consider reaching out to that person to thank them for loving you well in those seasons.
Who comes to mind when you think about God calling you to love like Jesus? What resistance or fear do you sense in yourself as you think about reaching out to that person or people group?
What do you need God to transform in you to allow you to step out and dive into the pain or story of another person? What do you sense is your role in that transformation?
God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for coming in the flesh through Jesus to experience all that it means to be here on earth. I want to enter into life like you did. I want a heart that doesn’t fear the pain and suffering of others, but that is open and willing to dive in because of your Spirit and presence within me. Help me to love like you, to reach out and take a risk for the sake of others. Amen.