A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. –John 13:34
Dr. Seuss’ famous Grinch who lived just above Whoville had a problem. It is reported that his heart was two sizes too small. This is why the Grinch hated Christmas and everything else about the merry Whos. By the end of the story, however, something happens. After working to ruin Christmas, the Grinch saw the Whos celebrating and loving each other even though they had nothing. “And what happened then…? Well…in Whoville they say, that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!”
The Grinch’s heart grew because he saw how the people loved each other no matter the circumstances. Once he saw their unconditional love, he wanted to be a part of it and he wanted to have it. It is no wonder his heart grew! He had never before experienced that kind of unselfish love that was not based on getting or gaining more.
Jesus gave His disciples a new command in the book of John. The old commands say to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself. What is the key difference in this additional command? We are to love as Christ loved. It is a love that was demonstrated to us on the cross, when He died for us, even while we were still sinners.
This love is a revolutionary love. It is a sacrificial love that is willing to put others’ needs ahead of personal needs. It is a forgiving love that is willing to forgive without limitations. It is a love that helps even when it does not fit into the schedule. It is a love that does not complain, even when it has been wronged. It is a love that is hard to live by, but it is a love that we are called to strive for. That is why God sent His son and left the Holy Spirit with us so that we could have supernatural strength to love as He loved.
It is when we love like this that others will be able to catch a glimpse of Jesus. It is when we love like this that not only our own hearts will continue to grow, but other people (whose hearts are perhaps two sizes too small) will respond to God as they see love played out like they have never seen before.
1. What are you doing to make sure your heart is growing in love for others?
2. What makes it so hard to love people unconditionally — as Jesus loved us?
John 15:9-17; Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 John 4:10-11