Is there something we’ve been missing?
You’ve heard it over and over again. “If you love God, you love people.” We should know we’re supposed to do that by now, right? I can hear you say, “That‘s what a Christian should be like.” Yes, you’re absolutely right! Yet, do we really know what it means to love the ones around us? We can claim all day and all night that we love God, but if we fail to love one another; we are not loving Him at all! You can’t love God and hate, judge, and hurt the ones around you. So, how do we truly love one another? We look to the One who offered himself as a sacrifice for us all and chose the cross instead of finding a way out. He chose to surrender everything He had. His very life! There is such depth in His sacrifice! The essence of the cross revolves around the truth that Christ died to forgive our sins, and yet, we need to look a little harder if we want to see the entire picture. Look past our sins and His purifying blood. Look at the way in which He accepted to suffer for us. Jesus freely laid down His life. He let go completely of all His rights and refused to defend himself. I believe this speaks to us loud and clear if only we open our ears and listen. Christ traced for us the perfect model of love. True love. Love that conquers all, forgives all, and ultimately, loves all. It’s only when we look into His eyes that we understand how to love like He did. We can start loving the people in our lives only when we open our eyes to see the picture that Christ’s sacrifice paints for us. God reveals to us the beauty of the cross when we look closely and learn to love like He did. We cannot love the ones around us without following His example of love. The love of Christ was a love that was willing to surrender all without holding anything back. This is the kind of love we all need in our everyday lives. We are imperfect and we make millions of mistakes daily. Have you ever been violently stabbed in your heart by someone’s words or actions? Have you ever felt like you were wrongly accused and it hurt just to think about it? Have you ever had to apologize without being the one at fault? The way we respond to situations like this is crucial. We either love like Christ did or we don’t. The Son of God, even though without a sin, chose to lay down His life as an eternal way of showing us how to love. Truly love. When we choose to lay down our rights, God becomes our defender. We must be willing to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of love. This doesn’t mean that the pain we feel is insignificant to God and that He wants us to suffer. No. He cares for you and me more than anything else, but we need to let Him heal the wounds and take away the pain that’s been caused by others. People will never be perfect, and you shouldn’t expect them to be. So, run to God when your heart is hurt and bleeding! He is the only One who truly cares about you and can bring about healing. Let God be your defender when you’re wrongly accused! He is the only One who can make justice on your behalf. Apologize and be the first one to forgive, even if the person who hurt you chooses not to! Don’t expect people to apologize first, you have the power to forgive either way! Be willing to love like Christ did!! His love is selfless, humble, and true. There is beauty in laying down your life as a sacrifice of love. As the cruel nails were penetrating His flesh, God was raising Jesus up to power and strength. We have our own cross to be nailed to, and it’s when we die to ourselves, our rights and expectations, that we continue the legacy of Christ. It’s all about love. A love that is pure, radical, and a complete sacrifice. To love like this is to love God with all of your heart. May we dare to love in such a passionate way!