Previously published 2/15/2013
As it is Valentine’s Day, I thought I would write a little note about the quintessential chapter of Love – I Corinthians 13. But, as I opened up my computer, the verse of the day caught my eye.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:34-35
“Love one another”. Jesus wasn’t kidding about this one. His whole ministry was about love and redemption. The entire purpose of His sacrifice was to reunite us with the Father who loved us first and perfectly. “As I have loved you, so you must love one another” is a tall order. Jesus loves us perfectly. He forgives us perfectly.
For the last several years, I’ve been working hard to understand what it looks like to really love someone as Jesus loved them. It’s no easy task. I will probably spend the rest of my life, here on Earth, trying to master it.
It’s pretty easy to love someone who loves us, especially someone who loves us well. I have been blessed to have a number of very patient and selfless people in my life. It’s a joy, and really quite a breeze, to love those people well. When I’ve had a few days of showing love to people like that, I can start to think that I have it all together.
Thinking I have it all together is a sure way to invite difficult situations and people into my life. God is funny that way. He sure knows how to teach us a lesson. I’ve heard someone call “difficult people” EGRs (Extra Grace Required). Do you know any of those people? Is there someone in your life with whom you know you need to expend extra energy to be kind? The Lord seems to put them in my path to teach me how to love like Jesus.
But, if I’m honest, we are all EGRs from time to time. I know I have days where I can be frustrating. Depending on who you talk to, some might say I have a lot of days where I can be frustrating. But, Jesus has grace that is more than sufficient for me. And, so, when someone is being difficult or in need of a little extra grace, I remind myself how often I need the same. And, hopefully, people know that I belong to Jesus because I show them love. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”.
Do you know someone who needs a little extra grace and love? Maybe it’s a good time to show them what it looks like to be loved like Jesus loves.