Lay down your life for others
“To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But then, one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be happy, one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness. I hope you're getting this down.” – Woody Allen
Jesus took a big risk when He loved us, and He paid for it in many ways. If we are to become Jesus-loving people, we need to take risks, too. Consider these thoughts from Ed Dobson, the Pastor of Calvary Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan:
"When we first began trying to minister to people with AIDS, I received letters from church members expressing their fears our congregation would be overrun by homosexuals. I decided to respond to these concerns on a Sunday morning in my sermon. I said, ‘If the church gets overrun with homosexuals, that will be terrific. They can take their place in the pews right next to the liars, gossips, materialists, and all the rest of us who entertain sin in our lives.’ I concluded by saying, ‘When I die, and someone stands up and says, "Ed Dobson loved homosexuals," then I will have accomplished something with my life.’”
There's just something right, and there's just something radical, about this kind of love. Yes, love involves sacrifice. Yes, love involves risk. But there is a joy in living this way that cannot be experienced any other way.
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:11-13
Yeah, when you love as Jesus loves you, you might even be accused of being the friend of sinners, as Jesus was. So be it. You’ll be in good company. Take the risk. Lay down your life and reputation so you can love as you’ve been loved.
Jesus, thank You for risking Your reputation for me, and thank You for sacrificing it all so that I might know Your love. Open my heart and my mind to this powerful, radical love. Reveal the intensity and the nature of Your love for me in new ways today, so that I can love others in that same way. Amen.
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