1 John 3:16 “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
On many occasions in my life I’ve heard someone say something along the lines of, “Well, it’s not my fault if they don’t feel loved by my actions. What matters is that I feel like I love them and I only want the best for them.”
I’ve also heard people talk about how real love is sometimes painful. If I truly love you, I’ll allow you to get what you deserve. For example, when a parent tells a child, “This hurts me more than it hurts you.”
I’ve received the impression from many people that “love”, in their opinion, can sometimes look like control, judgment, or condemnation. They attempt to point out flaws, criticize, and “improve” another person and define that as love. “I’m only saying this because I love you and want the best for you.”
In the above verse in 1 John 3, it tells us that we are able to understand what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us.
Our example of what true and real love looks like is Jesus.
Jesus, the perfect man, Son of God, Almighty Messiah, Prince of Peace.
Consider for a moment the worst human being you can possibly imagine. They’ve done the most atrocious things that you feel are unforgivable.
Now, take a moment to recognize Jesus’ example of love toward this person.
You see, when Jesus chose to die on the cross, to give up His life, to be brutally beaten and scarred, and spit upon, it wasn’t just for you.
He took upon Himself the sins of every human who would ever walk the face of this planet. He became the sacrifice, He accepted the punishment for all sin, both now, and in the past, and all in the future.
At your worst, at the worst sinner’s worst, Jesus saw it all, and still chose love.
And not a love that criticizes, seeks to improve, condemns, or shames.
His act of love was simple, yet astonishing. His act of love was to say “It is finished.”
All is forgiven, tossed as far as the East is from the West. No sin too great for His love. No human to evil for His acceptance.
This is our example of love. The only thing that we must do is to believe and accept this love. That’s it.
There is no extra step. There are no great expectations beyond that.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you are saved.” (Acts 16:31) “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
This is love, no strings attached. No sin too great. No way to earn it, no way to deserve it. It’s all yours if you choose to accept it.
Our example of love shows us that we don’t make people fix themselves, we don’t criticize or condemn, we don’t point out flaws and hold our love until they do things the right way.
We love all humans, at all times, and willingly give up our own life so that they can experience love, acceptance, safety, hope, and a future.
This is not an easy task. We can feel like it’s an unfair task. And maybe it is. But think back to our example.
Jesus, the Son of God. He deserved royalty. He deserved to sit on the throne and rule with power and might. His rights, as God’s son, were to live a life of perfection, ease, beauty, and glory.
And yet, Jesus gave up every single right he had. He completely ignored everything that He “deserved” and surrendered all of it.
He deserved to be worshipped but instead was spit upon.
He deserved to sit on a throne but instead was beaten.
He had the right to destroy everyone who came against Him, but instead, He chose to allow His own body to be destroyed.
Because He was perfect and without sin or default, He deserved to live in splendor, glory, and to be lavished with praise and abundance. Instead, He willingly surrendered everything to be nailed on a cross and die a criminal’s death.
This is our example of love.
You have rights, you have privileges, you deserve all kinds of great things because of all that you have done and who you are.
But our example of love says, give all of that up. Surrender every right, everything you deserve, and use your privilege for the sake of loving others.
They won’t deserve it. They will have done nothing to earn it. They can’t ever pay you back.
It will hurt. It will be hard. It won’t be fun. You will not deserve it.
But will you choose to love anyway?
“Let’s not merely say that we love each other let us show the truth by our actions.” (1 John 3:18)
Father God, thank you for sending Jesus to be our example of love. Thank you that He chose to surrender His rights and give up His life that I might be saved. Thank you for loving me that much. Lord, I pray that you would place within me a heart that loves others as much as you love me. Give me the strength to lay down my wants, my plans, and my very life to love the people around me. Grant me the wisdom to see your beloved people the way you do and to treat them with a sincere and compassionate heart. Teach me what real love is and what it looks like in my daily life. Help me to show your love in everything I do.
Blog Post – The Truth About the Love of God
Book/Bible Study – You Are Loved Bible Study: Embracing God’s Love for You
Song – Reckless Love by Cory Asbury