My previous post was about God's unconditional love for us. If I truly believe in that unconditional love, how do I respond to this commandment? Am I brave enough and strong enough to love others as Christ loves me? Brennan Manning puts it this way; "Jesus said you are to love one another as I have loved you, a love that will probably lead to the bloody, anguished gift of yourself; a love that forgives seventy times seven, that keeps no score of wrongdoing. Jesus said this, this love, is the one criterion, the sole norm, the standard of discipleship in the New Israel of God. He said you're going to be identified as His disciples, not because of your church-going, Bible-toting, or song-singing. No, you'll be identified as His by one sign only: the deep and delicate respect for one another, the cordial love impregnated with reverence for the sacred dimension of the human personality because of the mysterious substitution of Christ for the Christian." WOW. Yes, I read that a few times over, so feel free to do the same. What did it do to me? Hit me hard right in the heart of all things. If I am living my life as a follower of Jesus, believing that I am saved by the Grace of the cross and loved unconditionally, then how can I live my life ignoring the command that Jesus gave to us? I can't. But it is more than just obeying a command given to me by my Lord. It is a deep desire to share a love that brings healing and hope to my heart and soul in the hope that it will bring healing and hope to others.
Brennan Manning continues, "Healing becomes the opportunity to pass to another human being what I have received from the Lord Jesus; namely His unconditional acceptance of me as I am, not as I should be. He loves me whether in a state of grace or disgrace, whether I live up to the lofty expectations of His gospel or I don't. He comes to me where I live and loves me as I am. When I have passed that same reality on to another human being, the result most often has been the inner healing of their heart through the touch of my affirmation. To affirm a person is to see the good in them that they cannot see in themselves and to repeat it in spite of appearances to the contrary." The idea that my touch, my words, my actions towards another person can bring healing to their heart and soul through the unconditional love I experience in Jesus, how can I not desire to obey that command? For it is through the unconditional love of Christ that I live in this world with joy and hope. It is what I desire for others to know as well.
So, I will ask the question again; Am I brave enough and strong enough to love others as Christ loves me? To love others no matter the circumstances or conditions? The truth? No. I can not on my own. Praise the Lord that I do not have to. In my human condition, I will fall, but I can seek forgiveness and stand again in the love of Jesus. Because He does that for me, I must do that also for others no matter how difficult and challenging that may be.
"The question is not can we heal? The question, the only question is will we let the healing power of the risen Jesus flow through us to reach and touch others, so that they may dream and fight and bear and run where the brave dare not go?" - Brennan Manning