What comes to mind when you think of love?
Oftentimes we tend to think in terms of couples, dating, romance, marriage, and as parents the love we have for our children. Rarely do we perhaps think of Jesus Christ. And yet the truth is, Jesus Christ is the epitome of love and all it's glorious wonder and sacrifice.
Love is bearing nails.
Love is in his hands.
Love is Jesus.
Love is what Jesus did for each and every one of us.
'Cause living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He's coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day...
- Casting Crowns
Glorious Day Lyrics
What is so incredibly beautiful about the love Jesus has for us is that it isn't restrictive. His love doesn't pick and choose. His love covers all people… everyone is included despite our world's often limited views as humans… the poor to the middle class to the rich… all races… both sexes… all walks of life receive Christ's love. He has chosen you because "in Christ" there is neither Jew nor Gentile (refer to Galatians 3:28) and no one is left out.
"When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly"
-1 Peter 2:23
When Jesus was suffering, was being treated like a criminal… turn the tables and imagine yourself on the cross… any one of us would be incredibly tempted to lash out, to scream, to curse, to yell, to spit back, to fight… and yet Jesus did not go there… to refrain in absolute firm, secure will.
"By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us"
-1 John 3:16
Because if he hadn't laid down his life where would we be today? The scripture would not have been fulfilled and Jesus would not have been whom he said to be. There has never been nor will there ever be a greater love than Christ's.
When we love others, when we walk in light, when we forgive other's for their transgressions against us, when we try to understand and feel someone's pain that they are enduring (empathy) versus just eliciting a dismissive "Oh, bummer for you!", (sympathy)… when we share our smile with a stranger… because that one smile just might make the difference between someone who is in the pit of depression, feeling invisible and becoming despondently suicidal instead becoming gloriously hopeful and renewed in spirit…. when we let the person cut in front of us in traffic instead of cutting them off… when we open our hearts, doors and home to someone who maybe doesn't have anyone to spend Christmas with… when we teach our children they do not need the latest and greatest gadget because someone in their same town is going without food and we are called to help those in need… when we choose to not dabble in materialism, idolatry or become "afflicted with affluenza" because the very word "flu" is in it which can lead to death… when we choose to pray for those who have committed the unthinkable, the most detestable things in society because we believe through God, with love, hard hearts can be softened.. when we pray for all humanity… when we act upon all these things and more… we are walking in LOVE.
Today if you could go back in time and stand before Jesus on the cross…
what would you say to him?
What would you feel?
Would you simply say "Bummer for you!" as you walked by knowing what He did for us? Today do you try to put yourself in his place, imagine what He must have felt? Do you feel moved to tears when you realize the enormity of His suffering and love for us? Would you have knelt before Him and cried for Him as He suffered? Would you have spoken words of love to Him? Would you have sat there all hours into the darkness with him as He cried out to the Lord…
"My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"
Empathy is to step out of ourselves and into someone else's experience.
Jesus was God on earth… living, experiencing life as we humans do.
Jesus walked earth touching our humanity in such a way that he empathized with our hurts, our struggles, our mortal-ness if you will, yet living a sinless life.
When we live our lives trying to understand others and how they feel versus fixing, pointing or judging as they cry out in despair and grief and hurt… when we instead listen, cry with them, hold their hand and feel their pain in our hearts…
When we pray "Jesus, break my heart for what breaks yours… "
Then we not only empathize…
But we LOVE.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013