By Reagan Long
In John 13:34-35, Jesus commands the disciples to love others as He has loved them, and He says it is by this love that the world will recognize them. We love others by looking at how Jesus loved and imitating Him.
So how do we see Jesus love?
Jesus noticed and initiated.
Jesus was the one to initiate conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well, even though it broke cultural taboos (John 4). He was Jewish. She was Samaritan. He was a man. She was a woman. He was physically tired from journeying, it was the hottest part of the day, and He knew she was considered an outcast.
So who are we showing love to? Is it just our church friends and families, the ones that are “easy” to love or that we’re expected to? Or are we loving that person no one really talks to, with a different background that we don’t understand, or makes us uncomfortable because it’s not in our comfort zone?
His compassion dictated His actions.
Matthew 9:36 says Jesus had compassion on the crowds when He saw them. Compassion spurred Him to respond to and fulfill the needs of those in the crowds, through healing, teaching, and feeding. Compassion is a heart response. He responded to their needs because He cared.
Often, we serve and do things because it’s the “right” thing to do, but our heart isn’t in it. So, what’s really in our hearts when we serve? Is it because we desire to help or just because we think it’s what we should do?
He did not condemn.
John 8:2-11 tells the story of the woman caught in adultery and brought before Jesus. The religious leaders tried to use this situation to test Him, but Jesus responded, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
They all knew they had sin, so they left. While Jesus, the only one who could condemn her, refused to. He said He wouldn’t condemn her, and told her to sin no more.
As Christians we judge other Christians and condemn the lost for the sins we believe we will never commit ourselves. This is not how we are to love people. Jesus was the only one able to condemn this woman, but He didn’t. Instead, he extended mercy and grace. To love people as He did, we are to do the same.
So, how do we react when we find out about someone’s “big” sin? Do we treat them differently afterward or continue to love them unconditionally?
“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:8