Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: On loving others like Jesus Christ loves us

Love Like Jesus
A devotional by Carrie del Pizzo

“But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you.” 
–John 13:34 (CEV)

At first glance, this command can seem truly impossible. Jesus showed His love for us by dying on a cross. Does God expect us to die a gruesome painful death for others? Good news: He already took care of that part, so we can cross it off the list.

That means loving people the way Jesus did isn’t impossible … it’s only really hard.

In the first century, loving others meant being polite to those closest to you: family, friends, business associates. Good people attended synagogue, sacrificed at the temple, and stayed far away from sinners. Somewhere there was someone who did something to help widows and orphans, but only because they had to. Prostitutes and drunkards and foreigners were on their own.

The primary rule was to be clean. If you touched some undesirable person, you couldn’t go into the temple until you performed the ritual cleaning, which could take days. And if anyone saw you with an unclean person, they would assume you too were unclean. They might not do business with you. Their children might not play with yours. They might tell others about who they saw you with and what they thought you were probably doing.

Jesus turned society upside down. He demonstrated over-the-top knowledge of the Scriptures, performed miracles, and spoke messages that were both confusing and wonderful.

But the craziest thing He did was love people. His closest friends were smelly fishermen. He ate dinner with tax collectors. He actually touched people with leprosy, several prostitutes, and a couple of demon possessed guys.

In some cases, Jesus spoke a word to heal someone. But many times, He reached out and touched them. He hung out with them. He visited their homes. He ate their food. He took rides in their boats. He talked, laughed, and cried with them. He did life with these untouchable, undesirable people.

What about us? Sure, we’re nice to our families and church friends. Probably even school or soccer parents and some coworkers. But then there’s the next-door neighbor who doesn’t mow his lawn as often as we’d like. And the guy two cubicles down who voted for the other candidate in the last election. And the young lady who’s facing an unplanned pregnancy.

What if we loved them like Jesus does? What if we chose to do life with those people?

Let’s ask Jesus who needs His love and how He wants us to share it.

Author Bio:

In this world of texts, memes, and emojis, slowing down to truly communicate can feel like straining a muscle you haven’t exercised in far too long.

Seventeen years of business experience across a variety of industries has taught Carrie Del Pizzo the fine art of professional communications.

Partnering with corporate executives and entry-level employees alike, she has written and edited major project proposals, direct marketing pieces, sensitive client communications, employee handbooks, and user manuals.

Carrie’s love of literature and story has led her to develop and exercise her fiction writing skills as well. Aside from her personal creative efforts, she also edits for self- and traditionally-published authors and enjoys writing short dramas for church presentation.

Carrie is a wife, mom of three Americans and host-mom to numerous exchange students. Italian-by-marriage means she loves to cook and eat. She lives in Spokane, Wash., with her hilarious family who keep her in stitches and provides piles of material for great stories.

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