"Just as I have loved you". These words have captured me for a few weeks now. It began on a Sunday morning. The pastor told us when Jesus said "This is my commandment that you love one another, just as I have loved you" He was challenging us to go further than the previous "You shall love your neighbor as yourself". I realized that I had never really thought about the differences between the two before. In my mind it was somehow all the same. Since then I have been sorting out the differences and see very clearly the deficiencies in the way I love others.
It's easier to love your neighbor as yourself because we don't love ourselves well to begin with. Sometimes we don't take good care of ourselves or maybe we don't extend grace and mercy to ourselves, so why do this for others? To love one another the way God loves us...now that seems impossible! He loves loves us unconditionally. He provides for us. He comforts us. He ALWAYS forgives us. He is way more merciful to us than we are to ourselves. Finally, there is this...
His love went to the cross for us and we didn't deserve that kind of love. "Just as I have loved you" meant the cross. This most of all is what Christ meant when He said, "Love one another just as I have loved you". This is the kind of love that costs something. The kind of love that doesn't discriminate but willingly lavishes itself on the unresponsive and the undeserving. This love has no conditions.
After thinking about all of this I have to ask myself do I love just as He has loved me? Does the love I give to others cost me anything? Is it selfless or self seeking? Is there any sacrifice in it? Even if it does cost me something, how much? Christ's love for us cost Him everything. It's a sobering thought. All I can do is ask Him to make me like Him...selfless.