Love Like Jesus

We just celebrated Valentine’s Day, a time to express to our loved ones what they mean to us. It was a day of hearts and flowers, candy, or maybe dinner out with the one who we desired to show our love to. It’s easy to show love to those who mean so much to us. The Bible says we are to love others. The Apostle Paul expressed it this way, “Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8 CSB) Did you know that when we show love to others, we are fulfilling the Law? What about those who are hard to love? Are we required to show them love also?

Paul goes on to say, “The commandments, Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not covet; and any other commandment, are summed up by this commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Romans 13:9 CSB) Sometimes it can be difficult to love someone who may be an enemy, or at least with whom we may disagree. We need to look at Jesus’ example. How did He treat His enemies? Peter tells us, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23 NIV) In other words, Jesus loved them despite how they treated Him. He spent time with those who most people would reject, and in doing so, He showed them love. The religious leaders looked down on Him and showed hatred toward Him. One reason they condemned Him for associating with undesirable people like tax collectors and sinners.

How do we treat ourselves? I’d say we treat ourselves with great care. We make sure we take care of ourselves so that we are in good health and have what we desire.  If we make mistakes, sometimes we make excuses and expect others to cut us some slack. But how do we treat others, especially those with whom we may have issues? Do we treat them like we treat ourselves? Do we make sure they are doing well or help them when they are going through struggles or just look the other way? When they slip up do we condemn them, or do we show them grace? If they attack us, do we retaliate or do we pray for them, forgive them, and treat them like Jesus would?

It can be difficult to show love to someone who may be an enemy. But Jesus is our example of how we are to treat them. When we follow His example, not only are we acting like Jesus, but we are also being obedient. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31NIV) That wasn’t a suggestion. Jesus said it was a new commandment. (John 13:34) When we treat others like we would like to be, we are showing them love, and in doing so, we are being obedient to God’s Word. 

The Ten Commandments were given to show us our sins. It condemns us because it is impossible for us to be completely obedient. It shows us that we are sinners in need of a Savior. But Jesus came to fulfill the Law by being the final sacrifice for our sins, and He did so because of His love for us. He fulfilled the Law through love! “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree-’” (Galatians 3:13 ESV) Jesus exhibited the greatest example of love by taking our sin upon Himself at Calvary.

As we interact with those around us do we show them the kind of sacrificial love Jesus showed us? It may not require us to give up our lives for someone, although some may need to make that kind of sacrifice. But it may require us to go out of our way to treat someone with love when it may be inconvenient for us. We may need to mend broken fences in relationships that have come to utter destruction. We must remember to love like Jesus!

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