It is difficult to consider all of the two previous posts (Part 1 and Part 2) without considering just how I am to love like that. We have an ideal example of how difficult this must be, and yet how it can be done.
How hard it must have been to know Peter, a close friend, and yet he denies even knowing you while you are taken away to trial. Your close friend disappears as you sit in the courtroom in what could only have been a very hostile environment – interrogation and torture.
But Jesus sought Peter out and made it clear that he loved him, Peter was fully known and fully loved by Jesus. So are we.
Would I choose to leave the 99, certain that if watched over, they will be well? And then I would lose only 1. But Jesus left the 99 for the 1. He did not consider his own personal safety or the pain to himself – He just does. I’m also just as certain that he set the 99 in a lovely pasture and surrounded them with sheep dogs or cut brambles to build a little fence around them – but he did not abandon the 1 – he went after it, climbed whatever cliff, lit up the dark, chasing that one. Unconcerned with the consequences to Himself, His own safety, comfort or wellbeing.
When we brace ourselves knowing that love will be painful, we cannot embrace our neighbour.
He chose to love and expects the same of us. This call to love is not easy. It is uncomfortable and sacrificial. Just as His love for us was sacrificial.
I fall down all the time, my love fails, but I do try to pick it back up and start over. I seek Him when I know that I have been seeking myself and my own desires. But being with Him, spending time in prayer and in the Word, develops that love in us, transforms us, conforms us more and more to His image.
I am certain the hard part of love will become less difficult in time.
This transformation will make the love described here become natural, automatic as a response rather than a conscious choice.
Love is all you need.
The hard part of love will become less difficult in time.