I have seven sons (six by birth and one by adoption). They are grown now… in fact, my youngest birth son is getting married in two weeks. I love each and every one of them in all their individual uniqueness. But, like most mothers, I have had my love tested through the years with disappointments and trials. Loving is easy when you hold a sweet little innocent bundle in your arms, but not quite so simple when you learn from a neighbor that your son just pulled a pretty embarrassing and reckless stunt. I have learned that deep love – the “no matter what” kind – loving as Jesus loves – is a learning process. It’s also a love I cannot muster up on my own. I need Jesus to love as he loves!
How do I love the person I am frustrated with? How do I love the person who hurts me? How do I love someone I’m not sure I even like? Is that even possible? We know God calls us to “… love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). Not only that, but we are challenged to “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).
To love like Jesus, I need to understand how he loves. His love is not based on feelings or emotions. Jesus’ love seeks the best for the person, even to the point of sacrifice. He considered his sacrifice “joy” as he died for us to give us life (Hebrews 12:1-2). In order to love like Jesus, it first means checking my attitude. I can give my feelings to the Lord – in exchange asking him for his heart and his eyes of compassion for the person. I may still struggle with liking the person I am called to love – or respecting them other than to recognize they are made in God’s image and he loves them. Jesus loves each of us as HIS unique children, quirks and all! I am learning that, as I practice loving like Jesus, my capacity for loving more fully regardless of circumstance or personality or conflict grows! – Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist