Each month throughout 2021, we’ve featured a different person who lived out the scripture’s command to love one another. Today, we’re featuring the reason for this love. Jesus is not only love incarnate, he is the only reason we can attempt to love one another well. 

The phrase from Matthew 22 rolls right off our tongues. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But, the actual intensity of that command is something we don’t often stop to consider. 

As Care Net President, Roland Warren, explored in this video“”if we truly learned to love each other selflessly, we would break through all the barriers that culture uses to separate us into competing factions. Loving our neighbors as ourselves is the Bible’s cure for everything from family disagreements to racism. Love, as Corinthians 13 tells us, is patient, kind, not self-seeking or easily angered, and does not delight in evil. There are even more characteristics of love in this passage, but in these five statements alone it is clear that this kind of love would have the power to change lives.

And, that’s what Jesus did. He changed lives through his love. His perfect, patient, and persevering love is the model for us all. Jesus looked into the eyes of sinners and gave them hope for new life. Jesus compassionately healed the sick””both physically and spiritually. Ultimately, Jesus gave his own life for us. He paid the punishment that we could not afford to pay so that we could be reconciled with God and have the opportunity to live with him forever in eternity.

At Christmastime, we can especially be grateful for the depths of Christ’s love. As Philippians 2 reminds us, Jesus gave up everything””he made himself nothing””so that he could journey through life as we do. He humbled himself for our sake, dying on the cross for our sins. How amazing that Jesus would choose to come as a baby””a helpless infant. While many believed the Messiah would come as a powerful king, Jesus demonstrated that humility and love have more power to create change than any political movement.

Yes, Jesus loved better than any other. But, it’s important to note that he loved well without tolerating sin. He loved people perfectly while calling them out of the sin that encumbered them. In today’s culture, we too often confuse love with tolerance. Condoning sin is not love””it’s just the opposite. We’re to speak the truth with love, but if we fail to speak the truth, we’ve missed an opportunity to love someone well. When we don’t acknowledge God’s truth as our standard, we miss the opportunity to help others find true freedom.  

John 10:10 is a favorite verse for Care Net. Jesus came that we may have life and have it abundantly. Because we have abundant life we can live in Christ’s abundant love. And, because of Christ’s abundant love we can continue to help others understand the tremendous value of life.