John 13:34-35 (Contemporary English Version)
“… I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.”
Whenever I read the scripture above and apply it to my life, I shake my head in amazement. On the night before his execution, Jesus commands us to love one another as he has loved us. Are you kidding me??? How in the world can we love other people as fully and as unconditionally and as generously as Jesus loves? It seems like an impossible task. Not only that – he says that it is his command to us, not his suggestion or wish or hope for us. He commands us. I am daunted by this assignment and feel completely ill-equipped. The standard that he sets seems too high for me to ever reach. I am so intimidated that my impulse is to give up without even trying. (Probably not the response Jesus has in mind for me…)
As I continue to sit with this scripture, however, I hear Jesus’ gentle reminder that his capacity to love came from a lifetime surrendered to his Abba, living as the pure expression of divine love that was the hallmark of his ministry. The standard that he sets for me in the above scripture is not to love others perfectly, but rather to love others as fully as I am able to do in the midst of my own imperfect life. And also to be willing to allow Jesus’ perfect love to flow through me when I know that my own love is not enough.
Jesus commands us to keep choosing love, no matter what. And to allow that loving to continually transform us into his likeness, choice by choice. That I can do.
(c) 2015 Therese Adamiec