Written by Mary Hudson
“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” The commandments of the Lord are sacred requests that the Lord had written in stone and passed down from generation to generation. Commandments that God did not want us to forget, and just in case we struggle with that idea, He sends us reminders periodically to let us know how much he cares, even if it comes through difficulty or tragedy.
There are experiences and tragedies that shape us for the rest of our life. There was a particular night years ago when I couldn’t sleep. I was desperate for an answer but somehow deep in my heart I already knew the outcome. Sherry wouldn’t live. She was hit by a drunk driver; the crash threw her body into the air and many feet from the initial impact. By the time the ambulance arrived she had a pulse but was basically lifeless. It was long into the night before they pronounced her death.
There is more to this story. Sherry was my twin sisters, Martha best friend. My sister was a very loving Christian and accepted anyone into her world that needed a friend. Sherry desperately needed one. She grew up in a poor home. To be honest Martha’s friendship with Sherry embarrassed me, and I didn’t like the fact that my sister was her best friend. When she would call, I would answer the phone and with disdain announce that Sherry was on the phone again! But this day, the day she was involved in the crash, something inside of me cried out for mercy. I knew how I treated Sherry was wrong and I desperately asked God to forgive me and to give me a different love for people, His love. My perspective was transformed through this tragedy, and it changed me for the rest of my life.
In John 13:34-35 it says, “A new commandment 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.”
None of us want the wakeup call that I got that tragic day but sometimes God will use whatever means it takes to let us know that if we aren’t loving, we will bear the consequences in a harsh way. What does it mean to love the Jesus way as He commands us? On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the love condition of your heart? Many of us may feel we are loving at a 7 or an 8 but if we were to take an honest assessment, many of us would see that we fall short on the rare way Jesus commands us to truly love people. He wants us to love the “Jesus’ way, as He loved us.”
How is it possible to love the Jesus way in our human flesh? Humbling ourselves and being of no reputation. Knowing that the ultimate love is the love He gave us on a tree far away, bruised, battered and nailed down, what greater love could someone demonstrate and how can we do this today?
Recently I had the opportunity to show love that was extremely hard. To spend time with someone rejected by society and basically thrown away, considered a reject, and untouchable. I sat across from them and cried, listened, and eventually left my seal that under no circumstance would I turn them away. They could rely on me, and I committed to fervently pray for them. I wanted in that moment to show them the hands and heart of Jesus. To love when I didn’t want to in my flesh. It was hard. It was crushing and humbling, but we do that when we are committed to love the way that Jesus wants us to. He doesn’t throw anyone away and neither are we commanded to.
Our prayer to love this way may be offered up to God in different ways but let the sound of it come from a desperate heart and eyes that want to be enlightened and transformed. In I John 3:16 it says, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Ask God to give you a love for the rejected, those thrown out to the wolves, and those forgotten, those that have been abused and cast away as being filthy and unwanted. Then watch as the opportunities come to you in unexpected ways. Will it feel good? No, it won’t. Will it feel right? If you have a heart for God and loving people, His way, it will.
When we learn to crucify our flesh, we can love the way Jesus commands us to and we will be greatly loved by Him. Our reward will be in the way we love His way. It may not always feel convenient, or feel good in our flesh, but doing it His way will reward our hearts and lives beyond what we can possibly comprehend. We will be filled with peace, contentment, and joy. People may never notice, or they may even reject the way you choose to love, but just know, that being full of His Spirit leads you to do things in a way that will please the Lord.
Jesus chose a tax collector to be one of his closest friends. He chose a woman with five husbands to spread the word of who He was. He extended mercy to a harlot when others wanted to stone her death. Did this feel good to Jesus? He didn’t care what others thought about it, He was simply showing us how to do “love His commanded way” and know it changed the world. Are you ready to change your world for Christ? Love His way and it will!