God Running is a place for anyone who wants to (or even anyone who wants to want to) love Jesus more deeply, follow Jesus more closely, and love people the way Jesus wants us to.
Ever feel resentment, bitterness, frustration, or anger toward someone who’s unhappy with you, or hostile toward what you’re thinking? Or maybe they’ve even insulted you, or said something about you that’s untrue.
Yeah, me too.
But here’s the thing: What’s most important in a situation like that is what Jesus wants from you, and from me. Something I’m finding to be helpful is a shift in my perspective.
I need to recognize that I’m free not to look at that person as someone who’s against me. I should look at that person as an ally rather than an adversary. Because they’re helping me to become more like Jesus and they’re helping me to destroy my selfish nature (which is my greatest foe). And since this is a person who’s giving me an opportunity to practice loving like Jesus loved, I should see that person as a dearest friend. (Luke 6:32-36)
I’m trying to respond to a person like that without becoming defensive. I’m trying to overcome their evil with good. (Romans 12:21) (If there even is any evil present. Often there’s not. Usually they’re not doing evil, they just see things differently than I do.) The best possible response to such a situation is to overwhelm the person with Christ’s love. The best possible response to such a situation is to speak well of them, and do them good, and serve them: even if it means humbling myself to do so.
I want to respond to such a person the way Jesus instructed me to respond to such a person.
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”Luke 6:32-36
Jesus might say to you and to me: Whenever anyone opposes you or mistreats you in any way, think of me crucified, and how I forgave them. Go and do likewise.
Most of the material in this post comes from St. Vincent de Paul’s Cultivating Virtue, p. 413
Image of Jesus on the cross via Steve Evans – Creative Commons
Available on Amazon!
Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)
Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.
Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:
- Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
- How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
- The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
- How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
- How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
- How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
- How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
- How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
- How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.
With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.
A life of loving like Jesus.