To love as God loves means that we have to drop our prejudices and our judgments about others, we have to let go of everything that our culture has taught us and all that our ego desires, so that God’s love can flow through us unchanged. Our standard for love is God who “causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous. [Matt 5:45] We are to pour God’s out equally on everyone we meet. Wow!
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells us how far we are to take this concept of love:
Don’t hide the light within you. Let it shine. [Matt 5:14-16]
Don’t murder, but also do not hold onto anger at someone else, be reconciled with them.[Matt 5:21-24]
All you have to say is a simple yes or no, the truth. [Matt 5:33-37]
Don’t resist an evil person. Turn the other cheek.. [Matt 5:38-39]
Give more than someone asks you for, not just your shirt but your coat, too. [Matt 5:40]
Go an extra mile. Do not turn away from someone who wants to borrow from you.[Matt 5:41-42]
Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you.[Matt 5:43-48]
Don’t show off your righteousness or prayers or fasting so others can see you.[Matt 6:1-18]
Don’t store up treasures on earth.[Matt 6:19-22]
Don’t try to serve two masters, the world and God.[Matt 6:24]
Don’t worry about anything.[Matt 6:25-34]
Don’t judge or you will be judged by the same measure. [Matt 7:1-2]
First take the plank out of your own eye before you see to remove the speck from another’s eye.[Matt 7: 3-5]
Ask, seek and knock for what you need.[Matt 7:7-11]
Treat others as you would have them treat you. [Matt 7:12]
Enter through the narrow gate to life in its fullest. [Matt 7:13-14]
Recognize the evil and the good by their fruits. [Matt 7:15-20]
Do the will of God so that you will enter the kingdom.[Matt 7:21-23]
Be like the wise man who built his house on the rock. [Matt 7:24-27]
Jesus’s concept of love goes far beyond any human imagining of what love is. Merriam-Webster defines this concept of human love as “1) strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties; 2)attraction based on sexual desire: affection and tenderness felt by lovers; 3)affection based on admiration, benevolence or common interests.” Jesus is calling us way beyond this very human definition of love to a completely unselfish giving of ourselves to another out of our love for God and His concept of love. Loving as God loves involves our whole being –without judgment, with only the truth, with no fear or anger, with no resistance. It is to be expressed to the evil and the good, to all races and ethnicities, to everyone in the human race, for we were all made in God’s image [Gen 1:27] and we are all children of God. This love of God’s is a very high standard for us and not one that we can achieve on our own.
We will need God’s healing for all that would stand between us and God and us and another person. We would have to clean out our conscious and unconscious minds and hearts of any prejudice against anyone, of any anger or fear that drives us, of any egocentricity that makes every story about me. We would need to forgive ourselves and others for any harm we have caused to another. When we can get beyond these oh-so-human challenges, then and only then are we ready to love another person, as God loves everyone.
Paul’s passage about the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 is a great definition of God’s love: love is peace, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and humility. Only a truly humble person can love like God loves, because he or she is able to see themselves as just one of 7 billion children of God on this planet at this time, not better or worse than anyone else, but just a human being created by God like everyone else, and ready to spread God’s love to everyone he or she comes into contact with. Don’t we need a whole lot more of God’s kind of love in this world?
Questions to ponder over the week: What do I need to ask God to heal in me so that I can let God’s love flow through me? Am I willing to let go of all these issues? What is God asking of me in this regard? Am I willing to let Him heal all the hurt and trauma that I have experienced so that I can spread His love in this world?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who lay issue after issue on His altar for healing, so that we can truly be God’s love in this world. May we willingly give up our whole selves to God. May we be love in this world.
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