As disciples, our love should imitate Jesus loves for us. But what exactly does that look like. In other words, how are we to love others as an imitation of Jesus’ love?
How are We to Love Others As an Imitation of Jesus’ Love?
(2) Jesus’ love is unconditional
We know Jesus’ love is unconditional because Jesus sacrificed Himself for us even while we were His enemies. In 1 John 4:10, John writes,
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 Jn 4:10).
So John tells us that Jesus came and died for us while we were His enemies. He died for those who sinned against Him. He died for His enemies because His love is unconditional.
As Christians, we are to imitate Jesus’ love, which means our love is to be unconditional. It can’t just be reserved for those who love us, or for those who have or can do something for us. Instead we should love others regardless of their love for us.
A Story of Unconditional Love
It has been a few years now, but you might remember the story of Atheist Patrick Greene who brought a lawsuit against the city of Athens, TX. The city allowed a nativity to be displayed at the courthouse and Greene wanted it removed.
While he was waiting on a court date, his eyes started bothering him. I don’t remember all the details, but he ended up needing to get eye surgery to fix his problem. To save money, he dropped the lawsuit against the city. But before he was able to save enough for his surgery, his eyesight worsened. Since he was a cab driver, he could no longer work, which meant he could no longer save money for his surgery.
One of the churches in Athens, TX found out about Greene’s condition. Instead of celebrating, instead of saying he got what he deserved, they started to send him money so he could pay for his surgery. After they started doing that, other Christians in other churches around the nation started sending Greene money for his surgery and bills as well.
All these folks did this even though Greene was an atheist. Even though it was his mission to have that nativity removed from the courthouse. Even though he was persecuting them, they cared for him, they loved him.
Their actions didn’t go without notice. Greene’s heart was softened to the point where he used some of the money he received to purchase a star for the top of the nativity. He even said he was planning to move to Athens and start meeting with some of the folks from the church to discuss the Bible after his surgery.
So as Christians we should not only imitate Jesus’ self-sacrificial love, but we should also imitate His unconditional love by loving everyone we come into contact with no matter how they act towards us or what they can do for us.
Question for Reflection
- How have you loved someone unconditionally?
Post adapted from the sermon Love Others – Growth through discipleship – week 3