No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
It’s a word that in our culture has been overused and commercialized and trivialized. I’ve used the word love to describe a great meal, a nice day or my favorite sweater. At times we use the word love selfishly and manipulatively. If we’re experiencing the euphoric feelings of being in love then we tend to appreciate a bit more the commercial attention it garners. On the other hand, if we’ve experienced a broken heart or deep loss we might sneer at the hallmark and gooey romantic comedy versions of love.
Many of the ways we’ve known, experienced or come to describe love make our understanding of it confusing. But there are some ways we’ve known and experienced love that will give us insight into what Jesus means when he tells the disciples (and us) to love one another in such a way that we would lay down our lives for one another. Where has love like this been revealed in your life? When have you encountered love that is unselfish and life-giving? When have you experienced grace in the midst of your own foolishness? Forgiveness when you’ve been hurtful? Later in this same chapter Jesus tells the disciples (and us), “You have not chosen me, I have chosen you.” He is describing a love that is bigger than the confusion and complexities that we often feel lost in the midst of attempting to love one another well.
He’s describing a love that does not hinge on behavior, perfection or approval. Can you believe that? Love that does not hinge on behavior, perfection or approval?
Love that chooses us?
May your energy for love be renewed in the knowledge that God loves you,
Loves you in all your imperfection and flaws,
Loves your friend, neighbors, even your enemies in all of theirs as well.
May you work towards this perfect love that does not hinge on perfection in your own life and relationships.