Thursday, April 18, 2013

Love is...the cross

I really love this. I couldn't find the original source but I just love the simple truth it illustrates.

Recently at a prayer retreat our pastor spoke about the cross of Jesus. In Luke 9:23 Jesus says, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, pick up their cross daily and follow me." I have always thought of "my cross" as the struggles in my own life: being misunderstood, injustice, and illness. But our pastor pointed out that the cross Jesus carried was in fact for my sins, not His own. Jesus did not need to be burdened by my darkness and inequities and suffer on a cross that was meant for me, but He chose to because He loves me. In light of the cross of Jesus, my vague understanding of "my cross" as the occasional inconvenient circumstances and disappointments in my own life, has been far too shallow.

If this is how Jesus loves me, it must also be an example of how I am to love others. Our pastor spoke about bearing with one another in love, despite the things they may say or do that hurt us.  By sacrificing time that may go unappreciated, reaching out to others only to be rejected (I am super sensitive to rejection), humbling myself to be the first to apologize despite still feeling some hurt and anger in my heart, are all just little steps closer to the cross of Jesus and His love. Denying myself and dying to my selfish desires daily is the way true love takes shape. I fail so often, but by grace and strength from God....I want to love that way.

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