Summary: We talk about love and loving one another but Max Lucado reminds us that maybe we have forgotten the first step... accept God's love first.... then it can be passed on. Practical actions give "meat" to the word love. Acts of kindness. Acting patient. E
In Jesus Holy Name May 3, 2010
Text: John 13:34 Redeemer
“We Love Because……..”
“A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Jesus
These words of Jesus are challenging. It is a request to do the impossible. Jesus is not asking us to “try harder.” He is asking us to trust Him and allow his love to flow through us to others. He wants us to be the conduit of his love.
Love can not be a static noun… to be real it needs action. You can not command an emotion, but you can command an action. Understanding the difference between emotion and action… between what you feel and what you do… will empower every relationship you have.#
In the gospel of Luke we find Jesus at the home of Simon a Pharisee. For what ever reason Simon failed in the most basic rules of Jewish hospitality…. No customary courtesies. No kiss of greeting. No washing of the visitors feet. No oil for his head. In modern terms, no one opened the door for him. No one took his coat or shook his hand. Simon does nothing to make Jesus feel welcome.#
There is a woman who enters the house. We are not told her name, just her reputation… a sinner. A prostitute most likely. She has no invitation to the party, no standing in the community. Heads turn. Faces blush.
But people’s opinions don’t stop her from coming. Her every move is measured and meaningful. She puts her check to the feet of Jesus, still dusty from the path. She has no water, but she has tears. She has no towel, but she has her hair. She opens a vial of perfume and massages it into his skin. The aroma is inescapable.
You’d think Simon of all people would show such love. Is he not a student of the scriptures? Simon’s “love” is calibrated and stingy. Her love, is extravagant and risky.
What makes the difference? She has discovered God’s love. Did someone tell her how Jesus touched lepers and turned tax collectors into disciples? We don’t know. But we know she came thirsty from guilt, thirsty from regret.
Simon is not happy. Jesus turns to Simon and says: “a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” In other words, we can’t give what we’ve never received. If we’ve never received love, how can we love others? But oh how we try.
What’s our typical strategy for a troubled relationship? Try harder? “My spouse needs my forgiveness I don’t know how, but I’m going to give it.” “I don’t care how much it hurts, I’m going to be nice to that bum.” “I’m suppose to love my neighbor? Okay. By golly I will.
So we try, with teeth clinched. Jaw firm. We’re going to love if it kills us!
Could it be that we are missing a step? Could it be that the secret to loving is first receiving? “We love because….why? He first loved us!
Do you long to be more loving? Begin by accepting your place as a dearly loved child. “Be imitators of God, therefore, just as in Christ God forgave you.” John knows that we can not love others unless we know we are loved first. He writes: “God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we have loved God, but he loved us first and sent His son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (I John 4:9-10)
The secret to loving others is to know that you are loved.
Jesus has stated that “He loves you.” His words mean that you are accepted. Thus you can accept and love others. Does bumping into certain people leave you brittle, breakable, and fruitless? How is it possible when you don’t feel love for another person, even if it is your mother-in-law, or brother or sister or spouse? How can Jesus command us to feel love? The fact is. He does not! He is commanding us to act in a loving way.
If you’ve had a tough day at work and someone says: “Be happy!” The words do not work. You can not command emotion but you can command action. Jesus said. “Love one another.” He does not say” “Feel this way.” He’s saying at this way.
There are moments when not a single fiber of your being feels loving and yet you can choose to act in loving ways. When your child does the same foolish thing for the third time in a week you have a choice. You can yell…. Or respond with kindness in your voice. That’s acting in love.