“Embrace loving as Jesus loves you, and you will help others become loving followers of Jesus.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 16, 2021
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35
God initiates love to us so we can initiate love to others. Jesus did this. He gave a new command and then modeled for His followers how to love. It was a new command to love one another that was based on a new reason—Christ’s salvation for our sins on the cross. The old commandment was based on Israel’s deliverance from Egypt’s slavery, the house of bondage. Love initiated by Jesus is brilliantly illustrated throughout Scripture, and in this moment of washing filthy feet. It is a picture of humility, by serving in a way to show us the way up is down. So how does Jesus love?
Jesus loves with elevated mercy and no condemnation. When a woman is brought before Him accused of adultery—Jesus doesn’t condemn her, rather he loves her. How? Jesus protects the accused by calling out her accusers. He asks the scholars and religious leaders about their own sinfulness, in other words, how can they judge another’s sin when sin resides in them. Beginning with the oldest each man began to walk away—not surprisingly the aged were wisest to Jesus’ words. The sin of pride is concealed, yet just as ugly or uglier than the sin of adultery. Neither sin is excusable, both are in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. Jesus showed mercy to the woman in her shame—no condemnation while urging her to go and sin no more. Love gives much mercy!
“The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?” “No one, Master.” “Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin” (John 8:9-11, The Message).
Are you quick to rush to judgment when another is caught in sin? Or, is mercy and grace your go to? Do you offer to others what you would want if you found yourself in a similar situation? Love and kindness are not meant to be conditional on repentance. Just the opposite, gratefully it’s your love and kindness God uses to bring others to repentance. Shame and condemnation are tools of the enemy to keep people stuck in a confused state of feeling undeserving of mercy and grace. Self-flagellation of the soul. Only when love builds a bridge to a hurting heart can healing begin. Love protects the one caught in sin, not to condone—but to show mercy to God’s child.
Maybe you find yourself flailing away in sin, seeking a way out. Start by embracing the pure love of your heavenly Father. Lean into the loyal love of your Savior and friend Jesus, and invite the comfort and compassion of the sweet Holy Spirit. True love is your escort out of a troubled life. The new command of Jesus to love one another as He loves will enable and empower you to exit the destructive path onto the path of God’s abundant life. Humble yourself and serve in small ways and God will trust you to serve in bigger ways. Love joyfully does the little things. Embrace loving as Jesus loves you, and you will help others become loving followers of Jesus.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17, NKJV).
Heavenly Father, give me the grace and mercy to love others as you have shown me how to love, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Who needs my mercy with no judgment?
We The Kingdom: God So Loved
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