34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." - John 13:34-35
Jesus commands us in these verses to love like He does, so it would benefit us to take some time to reflect on how He loves.
Jesus loves us sacrificially. He placed us before Him as He endured the wrongful accusations, the mocking, and even the beatings without a word, and as He went to the cross to take our punishment for us, all so we could live in community with Him for all of eternity. Do we love others with the same “you before me” mentality?
When we are prompted to say “I love you” to someone, it is generally because they recently made us feel good. Someone does a nice thing for us and we say “I love you”. We don’t generally say “I love you” when they’re being difficult, when they’re wrongly accusing us, when they’re mocking us, or when they’re not treating us as we want to be treated. But Jesus did. From the cross, He said “forgive them for they know not what they do”. Despite all the horrible things done to Him in the previous 24 hours, despite the weight of all of our sin hanging in Him at that moment, He cried out to our Father in heaven and asked Him to forgive us. He had every right to demand the wrath of God to come down and wipe everyone out because of the way they wrongly accused Him, mocked Him, spit on Him, beat Him, but He didn’t. Our forgiveness was more important to Him than justice in that moment because He loves us sacrificially.
Jesus calls us to love as He loves - that means we are to love others with an “I love you before me” kind of sacrificial love. That can be something as simple as letting someone else choose the channel on the television, or allowing someone to cut us off in traffic...or it can be something much harder to endure.
Sacrificial love understands that God works on all of us in different ways and at different times. Since He grows each of us in His own time, sacrificial love accepts the shortcomings of another person - their failures, their strongholds, and their issues - knowing that God is always at work, revealing new things to us all the time. Sacrificial love doesn’t have any expectations for the way a person is supposed to behave, but rather focused on how we are supposed to behave. Despite the fact that I am wrongly accused, mocked, treated disrespectfully, I am still called to love that person sacrificially. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they have done, I am called to love them.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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