Loving like Jesus
New York City. Oklahoma City. Columbine. Paris. Orlando.
Just the stringing of these cities together brings a flooding of images to mind of the tragedies. Such hurt and loss brought at the hands of hatred. So many lives now shrouded in mourning. Here I sit many, many miles away reflecting on the state of our world today and wondering how I can help.
Two ways come to mind.
First, pray. Pray for those mourning. Pray for our nation. Pray for God’s light to shine in the darkness.
Second, love. Earlier in the New Testament while John was traveling with Jesus, they came to a town that did not welcome them. John asked Jesus if it would be OK to call down fire to destroy the whole town! Jesus rebuked John for even asking and moved on to another town. That same John so quick to be the judge, jury, and executioner over not being welcomed changed his tune as he went on to mature in Christ following the resurrection and the Holy Spirit’s arrival. Check out words he wrote later in his life-
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him… We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 4: 16, 19-21
Sitting in a mall a couple of weeks ago, I ‘people watched’ while waiting for my daughter to shop. So many people passed by. Tall. Short. Slim. Not so slim. Some spoke English. Other voices were in Spanish and I believe Chinese. Plus a multitude of skin colors created quite a kaleidoscope.
Sitting there I was overcome by how great God is to create such variety and to love each one so infinitely. My heart was softened as God reminded me I was to love each one like he does. I don’t need to speak the same language, match their skin tone, and agree with their religion, philosophies or lifestyle choices to love them.
My heart breaks for the lives cut short in Orlando and for those who mourn. Then my heart asks… what if? What if God’s people loved each other as we are called to do? What if God’s people loved those who don’t know God yet or believe? What if God’s people loved the way that Jesus showed us? Jesus demonstrated great love for the prostitutes, the lepers, the tax collectors (society’s most hated people), and the lonely. Can you imagine such a world? I know we can’t fix this planet… but we can make it a better place!
Lord, be with those in Orlando and those throughout your world who are mourning and hurting. Comfort. Be the light you are! And, Lord, help me to love like Jesus. May your people across this land rise up to love those around us- ALL those around us- in such a way that people look up to see you. Amen!