Is it possible to love one another as Jesus loves us?

During Lent, we remember Jesus’ command: “Love one another as I have loved you.” My question is: is it still possible to love one another as Jesus loved us? We live in a world opposite to them, in a culture of contempt. We are divided into camps around politics, theology and understanding race. Remember human sexuality, biblical authority, and denominational structures. Did I mention the pandemic? Honestly, some of us are too tired to be patient, let alone love. Despite all that, I promise you that we will not have to give up love. In this article, I want to share the four best ways to practice love during this post.

Is love equal to approval?

First, I want to share one common concern. It is a concern that love means approval. If I am called to love you but disagree about fundamental understandings of the world, am I compromising my faith? Am I sending a signal to approve of what I believe to be sinful or unjust behavior?

Here’s what I found. To love as Jesus loved does not mean accepting behavior or belief. However, it is equal acceptance of the humanity of another person and his inner deity. No matter how wrong you think their beliefs and behaviors are. After all, judgment is God’s domain, not ours.

Now, on to the problem and solutions: four ways to practice love this post.

Why it is difficult to love as Christ loved

Polarization tends to produce polarization and takes us further and further away from Jesus ’command. Polarization is built on fear and judgment. “I am right and you are wrong. In fact, you are so wrong that I can’t trust you, talk to you, or even be me when you’re here. ”

These attitudes of the victim have no place in Christ’s consciousness. He ate with sinners. He communicated with Pilate. He did not try to pull out the “other”. He allowed Judy to stay. He left personal differences aside and created a community among his people instead.

Four ways to practice this post

1) Practice searching for common value Polarizing constructions only come to life when we act on them. By letting go of “us against them,” you are taking the first steps toward love as Jesus loved and creating community. Instead, allow polarization to be dissolved by accepting opposites or by finding, identifying, and focusing on common core values.

2) Practice listening When you are with someone you don’t love, listen to their humanity. Put yourself in their shoes. Ask: how did your personal journey lead you to this place? How has this shaped your perspectives?

3) Practice extending grace A person you can’t stand to love can look at you the same way you look at her. Surprise them by giving them grace. Give them the grace to make a mistake, to be on a different path, to grow in their timeline and to be recipients of God and your love.

4) Practice prayer If you can’t find love in yourself, ask God to show you how, to teach you how to love them. If that fails, keep praying.

It is possible to love one another as Jesus loves us

The pandemic has shown us that we are not against them. It’s just us. People from all walks of life and from every country in the world have been affected by the pandemic. If we hope to go through this with any sense of oneness, we must practice loving one another as Jesus loved us. It is not automatic; intention is required. I invite you to take up these four practices of this post: seeking common values, listening, giving grace, and praying.

We don’t know everything the future holds for us after a pandemic, but the more we trust God in our approach, the more we can live by Jesus ’command. Then we will be more confident that we know we can survive and even thrive.

If you are stuck in survival mode, I would like to invite you to join me in my upcoming workshop, Dreams of the Greatness of Jesus for Small Churches, where you will learn that once again you can dream like Jesus® and why it is imperative.

Excerpt and adaptation from an upcoming book by church consultant Rebecca Simon-Peter, The Growing Church after the Pandemic (Publishers Market Square, 2022)

Copyright © 2021, All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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