To Love Like Jesus Does

Jesus was not delusional about human nature. He did not view people as “basically good” but made bad by society. The Scriptures tell us,

But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. ~ John 2:24-25

Elsewhere, Jesus states plainly,

The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. ~ John 7:7

Nevertheless, Jesus has a profound love for people. Mind you, He does not love the sinfulness (the selfish, self-indulgent, God-defiant part of us). Yet, He loves and values the actual person of individuals. Consider just a few instances. 

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. ~ Matthew 9:36

Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” ~ John 8:10-11

After a night of betrayal, abandonment, mockery, torture, scourging, and then after being nailed to a cross for several more hours of excruciating pain and asphyxiation, only to lift the following prayer for his tormentors:

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” ~ Luke 23:34

Humanity, being created in the image of God, is not completely void of compassion, kindness, or sacrifice. While the news continually blasts us with humanity’s depravity, we still hear stories of its reflections of the image of whom it bears: a youth helping a senior up some stairs; citizens surrounding a police officer to protect him during a riot; or a person rushing into a burning building to rescue another.

The love with which Jesus loves, however, is of such an unattainable caliber that we are unable to possess and distribute it apart from abiding in the very Source of such love. In fact, many of those who profess to belong to God do not have such love for others. Mind you, I do not profess that I possess this love, so rich and pure. 

Our world will continue to sing and write about love, but will always fall short of genuine love’s grandeur. The highest and purest form of love (Gk. agape) is defined in the Bible:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

The only way to genuinely display this selfless and sacrificial love is to be connected to the Source of this love (Christ) and continually being filled with His Holy Spirit.

Indeed, to err is human, and we know this all too well. But to love like Jesus does is truly a work of the Divine within. I admit, I am not there yet. Perhaps you are not either. May we draw close and abide in Christ because of our own obvious deficiencies, but our world is in serious need of the purest love that He provides.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. ~ John 15:1-5

The Way to Keep Racism Alive Is by Not Killing It

Recently the Coca Cola Company came under criticism for an online training seminar for staff to “try to be less white.” I am reminded of a line in the movie, The Shadowlands, (starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger). A professor shares with Joy (played by Winger) a chauvinistic opinion, to which she replies, “I don’t know if you’re trying to be offensive or just simply stupid.”

So many people in the political, business, and entertainment realms profess to abhor racism, while in truth, they do not. If our society truly wanted to eradicate racism, it would try to kill it and not simply turn it in a different direction.

“Try to be less white,” say some of those in the Coca Cola world. First of all, what does this even mean? Second, could you imagine a company telling select employees, “try to be less black,” “try to be less Latino,” or “try to not be so Asian”? Such statements are, in themselves, racist. So, if we really want to see racism die, directing it to another group is not going to kill it. It merely continues to feed and breed it.

“I’m so ashamed to be white,” some of those in Hollywood and Washington have said. Liars! If they were truly ashamed of being white and having “white privilege” they would truly hang their heads in shame instead of trying to seek more attention. They would distribute some of their well overpaid salaries to help the less fortunate communities. They claim to be so “ashamed,” yet still they love the limelight.

The statements that really upset me, however, are those that claim caucasians are bad, on the basis they are white. This is not an attack on Aryan-ism, but simply a turning it in a different direction or redefining it. It is simply a shifting in saying, “Blacks are criminals, based on they are black.” Of course, this statement is just as malicious and wrong. But we do not deal with racism by shifting words. Rather, we begin treating one another, regardless of pigmentation, with dignity and respect.

The color of a person’s skin is never what defines him or her of their personality or character. Over the years, I have seen the humanity of persons, regardless of their color. I have met some very wonderfully kind, generous, intelligent, and funny whites, blacks, Latinos, Asian, etc. I have also met some very rude, selfish, ignorant, and vulgar whites, blacks, Latinos, Asian, etc.

“Honor everyone,” the apostle Peter tells us (1 Pet. 2:17).

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. ~ James 2:8-9

To hate or belittle any person on the basis of their skin color, ethnicity, or heritage is to trample on the heart of God. We are granted an amazing glimpse surrounding the throne of God in heaven:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” ~ Revelation 7:9-10

The way to keep racism alive is by not killing it. As long as we continue to belittle, attack, and speak condescendingly on one another based on our color or ethnicity, we simply keep adding fuel to the fire instead of letting the embers finally die out.