Loving Like Jesus

Image  Do we try to live like Jesus?  We say we are Christians, so, it should follow that we are making a serious effort to live like Jesus lived, as the apostle John said, to ‘walk like He walked.’  We can convince ourselves that we are doing that, not perfectly, but making a sincere effort.  But, are we really? 

Jesus’ teaching that we should love as He loved is clear.  No one will argue with this principle. 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35 NKJV)

“…as I have loved you.”  That’s pretty straightforward.  Do we do that?  Here’s a test.

Jesus said we are to love our enemies, even pray for them. 

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, (Matthew 5:43-44 NKJV)

Loving includes forgiving.  Recall the familiar statement of Jesus from the Lord’s Prayer or “Our Father.”

And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. (Matthew 6:12 NKJV)

Then there is the amazing request of our Lord from the cross.

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”  (Luke 23:34 NKJV)

Now the test.  Could we have done that?  Could you have done that?  Could I do that?  Perhaps we could create a hypothetical similar to this and imagine it possible.  Maybe we could look back in time and say, “I think I could.”

Actually though, that’s not the real test.  The real test is, “Am I doing it now?”  Who has wronged you?  Have you forgiven them?  Not a difficult test to take.  But a real hard one to pass. 

Forgiving like Jesus may be the hardest part of the Christian life.  “I have done nothing to deserve this, yet they have done such-and-such to me,” we say.  “I have a right to fair treatment and this is grossly unfair.”  How can I forgive someone who has deeply injured me, or worse, hurt my family member?  I must figure it out, because if I’m not like Jesus in forgiveness, I’m not a Christian; I just say I am. 

Here are two thoughts that help me.

One, this a unique opportunity to be salt and light.  Hardly anyone forgives their enemies.  The norm is to get them back with vengeance, not forgive them.  If I can forgive them, because I am a Christian, then others get a taste of how powerful Christianity is.  They taste the salt and see the light of Christ in my life, which is a lot of the point of God saving me – so I could lead others to Him by my example. 

Two, if I can forgive, I can be free.  Anger, resentment, and bitterness are enslaving.  If I allow them to control me, I will never be free.  If I allow them to dwell in me, they will control me.  The way out, the way to freedom – is forgiveness.  It’s impossible, without Christ.  He showed the way by His own forgiveness of those in the very act of murdering Him.  And, He forgave me.  If I am serious about loving like Jesus, I will be a forgiver. 

 

 

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One Response to “Loving Like Jesus”

  1. Jerry Starling Says:

    The only way we can forgive like Jesus is to die with Him to self. This means we must “suck it up,” accept the pain of mistreatment, and go on with life without looking back.

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