At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” -Matthew 12:1-2
How Jesus Loved People
“Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath,” the Pharisees said. Jesus’ disciples were under attack. But Jesus didn’t throw them under the bus. He didn’t leave them dangling out there on their own. He publicly came to their defense when they were the target of public criticism.
Jesus loved with loyalty.
How to Love Like Jesus
Remember your friend in high school who completely embarrassed himself? Remember how the popular kids who were around derided him? And do you remember how you and your friends reacted? Did you avoid him for a day or two, out of a sense of self preservation?
Of course that situation doesn’t just occur in high school. You may have heard or read Mitt Romney’s recent comment that Barack Obama won the election because he handed out gifts to minorities.
The comment has proved to be embarrassing, and awkward for the Republican party. And there’s been an interesting, though predictable, reaction from Republicans. “Republicans shun Romney,” one headline reads, “Romney sinks quickly in Republicans’ esteem,” another states, “Republicans turning on Romney,” says yet another. Regardless of how you voted, it’s hard not to notice how Romney’s former supporters are distancing themselves after his unpopular comment.
Have you ever done or said something embarrassing, or awkward, or unpopular? Afterwards have you ever experienced that feeling of abandonment when your friends suddenly make themselves scarce?
Jesus’ love was manifested in behavior precisely the opposite of what we so often see in ourselves and others. When Jesus’ disciples ate the grain on the Sabbath, from a public relations standpoint, for someone in public ministry, it was a problem. The reaction from the religious establishment was predictable — they criticized, they went on the attack. But Jesus didn’t react the way so many of us often react when a friend or associate does something awkward. Instead of distancing himself to preserve his own popularity, Jesus used it as a teaching moment. Instead of running from his disciples, Jesus used it to explain God’s heart concerning the Sabbath.
Jesus stuck by his guys. He was loyal.
Jesus loved His disciples by sticking with them, even when it wasn’t politically expedient to do so.
The next time you find yourself around someone who has blown it socially, look at it as an opportunity to show them Christ’s love. Instead of distancing yourself, do what you can to support that person.
That’s what Jesus did.
You and I should too.
[Image via pusteblume]
[HT: Jon Courson]