This Kind of Love
I can imagine Jesus walking around the markets, making His way through the crowds, loving the people, joy on His face, compassion in His heart, and savoring His time with those around Him. In many accounts of His life, we read of Jesus drawing people to Him. Approaching people. Embracing people. Calling people to sin no more and follow Him. Truly, He loved the world He came to save. He was not naive to the sin or corruption of this world (these are what He went to the cross over), but His love was genuinely unconditional. The times you read about His righteous anger is when He interacted with the Pharisees. They were legalistic, they put on a charade, they judged others, were arrogant, and they missed what being a follower of God was all about.
Have you ever thought about how Jesus would have approached you? I do. Would I have been among the crowds who followed Him, learned from Him, and whose lives were changed by Him? Or would I have been standing firm with the Pharisees; prideful, fearful of Him, and plotting His murder? It is a sobering thought, really. Yet, Jesus loved them all.
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32
Whenever I read this verse, I thank God that He came to save me. Through my darkest sins and my most unrighteous moments, God loves me. He doesn’t push me away, He draws me near. It is humbling to consider how great His love is for each of us, and His love makes me want to live more and more like Him.
As Jesus invites us to accept His love into our lives, He also asks us to share that same unconditional love. It is much easier to simply love others rather than spending our time judging one another. Holding people to unrealistic expectations causes great strife and chaos. What if unconditional love was the answer? The world needs lovers, the ones who can unconditionally love the people around them. That is not easy, and we will fall short at times, but with God’s strength we should try, and try, and try to love as Christ does.
I like to say this a lot, “Life is too short to [FILL IN THE BLANK].” Today, I’ll fill it with these… hold the grudge, live destructively, be a slave to sin, be self-absorbed, think you're better than, cut off those you should care about, push away your family and friends, hate yourself. God loves you unconditionally, and He gives us the ability to come pretty close to loving others in that same way. Your relationships and your self-worth will be positively impacted when you choose to love people with an unconditional and forgiving kind of love. We are all very much in need of being loved. Love fills us up, satisfies us, and when we pour love back into this world, it is how we can let go of the hurts, meet people where they are, and take care of one another. Love allows us to see the best in people and to be the best versions of ourselves.
I know that there are a million reasons and unique situations that appear to justify not loving some people. Some may very well be valid and true, but if the Spirit is nudging you to forgive, reconcile, mend, and apologize, then take that journey with the Lord. If you are struggling to love others, if you are caught up in pride and self-centeredness, then I encourage you to acknowledge, reflect, and with wisdom and prayer, let go of whatever is causing you to miss out on the blessed life of loving others and being loved.
Go out and love today.
Author: Pamela Palmer