As I said in the post Love Hurts a week or two ago, we do not need instruction on how to love people who love us. It comes naturally. What is as unnatural as a golf swing is loving those who give us a hard time. For this we need instruction…and Jesus – like no one else – gives it to us.
Jesus gives us this instruction most dramatically in the way He lost His life – by a cross. For this reason He says:
…If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
– Luke 9:23
We think of the crucifixion as a once in a lifetime, if not a once in an eternity, event for God. Truth is, the cross is emblematic of His daily experience with the human race. We are His “cross to bear.” We whine and complain; we’re ungrateful. We’re faithless and disobedient. We would wear out the patience of any human authority in a day or two, and it’s only His divine patience that keeps Him interested in us. Therefore, our putting Christ on the cross is intended to demonstrate how we as the human race have daily – even constantly – been putting God’s love for us to the test. Jesus’ crucifixion demonstrates for all time how God’s love withstands that test.
God wants us to love Him and each other this much, too. The amazing thing is that He never even told us to love each other this much until He came down here to live as one of us and do it Himself. The Law of Moses did not require the kind of love that Jesus did. In other words, God didn’t preach a cross-bearing love until He Himself came and practiced it in human form. As Paul says of Him:
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
– Hebrews 5:8
Likewise, you and I learn obedience from the things we suffer. Therefore, we don’t pay attention to Christ so that we can learn how to love those who are doing what we want; we pay attention to Christ because people – even in our own family – can be very, very disappointing. He seems to know how to handle this. Do you know anyone who would be a better source on the subject of how to love those who are unlovely?