I don’t want to:
- Submit and serve people that are ungrateful or trying to subvert my ministry.
- Forgive people that not only have hurt me in the past, but are hurting me now.
- Pray that my enemies will be shown mercy and grace instead of judgment and wrath.
- Love people that are really unlovable and mean-spirited.
- Be misunderstood.
- Be disliked for doing the right thing.
- Be called names for doing my best to obey God’s calling on my life.
I say I want to become more and more like Jesus, but I don’t want to do the very things that Christ did and I don’t want to get treated like he got treated. I think I am looking for “Jesus-lite.” I want all of the benefits and none of the other stuff.
Jesus said, ““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.” He was probably even serious about it. He did, after all, say it was a command. I just don’t like it. And, based on my experiences with other folks, they don’t much like it either.
Jesus knew that we would have conflict and trouble with each other. What was going to be unique about us was the way we dealt with that conflict: with Love. Unfortunately, most of us want to avoid conflict rather than deal with it and in turn miss our chance to demonstrate Christ-like love. Here are a few ways that we do this:
- We choose people that will believe our innocence and the other person’s guilt. We tell the story that puts us in the best possible light and the other person in the worst.
- We avoid dealing with the issues that are creating conflict. Mostly we pretend it didn’t happen and then talk with our friends about how we got done dirty.
- We settle for loving the lovable and ignoring the unlovable.
- We spend little time giving our attitudes over to the Holy Spirit for correction. Self reflection is a good thing in these times. We can ask, “Is my attitude towards that person bringing dishonor to the name of Christ?” And, “What must I do to be more like Christ?”
- We claim that our love will give the impression that we condone their behavior. If this is true, Jesus is in really big trouble.
Loving like Jesus is hard. In fact, without the Holy Spirit it is impossible. My first inclination is to avoid this command by rationalizing my actions of not loving. This doesn’t fly with the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, the Spirit nudges me and empowers me to do the things I don’t want to do. It is difficult and often uncomfortable; however, every time I am fully obedient, I can sense the Image of Christ becoming clearer in me.
Are you guilty of living a less than Christ-like life? What is the Spirit asking you to do?
 John 13.34-35 NIV