"Live your life with love, following the example of Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us. He was a sacrificial offering that smelled sweet to God.” Ephesians 5:2
You will never out-love Jesus.
That may seem like an obvious statement. But when it’s put next to the people we’re called to love, even when it’s difficult, it changes the meaning of it. So many times we excuse our call to love others because of something they did to us or said to us. Or they’re just too different from us. We may even justify our attitudes towards some because, well… we don't hate them. It’s not like we wish misfortune on them. We just don’t want to see them or talk to them if we can avoid them.
But let’s be honest, our actions or attitudes towards some, while it may not be hateful, it certainly isn’t loving either. Too easily we find ways to disqualify others from the obligation to love.
That is why Paul's words to the Ephesian church are so crucial. Following Christ’s example of love is a pretty high standard. Christ love the whole world AND gave his life for it. Think about that. The people who tortured him—he loved and died for. The men who hung him on a cross, he loved and gave himself for. Christ’s love for people was much bigger than you and I can really fathom. Yet it’s that kind of love that we’re called to imitate.
So with a new year in full view, I invite you into a new challenge—one that causes you to look a little more at yourself before you look at the other person and what they did to you. The challenge is to begin by asking, “Am I loving like Christ?” Am I following Christ’s kind of love? Am I willing to examine myself before I examine the person before me? Will I love people like Jesus did? These are tough questions, but necessary for those who want to follow Christ more faithfully.
Remember, you’ll never out-love Jesus.