Christ like love. What is it and how do we develop that within our own lives. What do we know of it and how did Christ himself show us this love. This is not a concept that can be easily explained, however I will do my best to elaborate on this subject and hopefully help others more fully understand how we can develop and understand this within our own lives.
To best understand this concept we must first define what Christ like love is. To do this we can turn to the scriptures themselves for examples of the love Christ showed for us and others. Some of the immediate examples that come to mind are:
- The Widows Mite. Turning to Mark chapter 12 vs 41-44
41 ¶And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
This story speaks of Christ’s great compassion for the poor. He recognized with this widow that her sacrifice has much more meaning to both himself and this widow because of the little she had. She had given up all that she had for the sake of her faith and paying her tithes. Christ demonstrated his love for her by recognizing her sacrifice.
Are there those within our own lives who have made great sacrfices for us? Have we taken the time to recognize the sacrifice others have made for us? What sacrifices have we made for others to show the love we have for them? Christ like love involves sacrifice, and at times much of it.
Another example of Christs love comes from the story of the adulteress found in John chapter 8:4-11
The sin of Adultery is a very serious sin, one of the most serious sins we could commit. Christ showed not only compassion but mercy on her and let her know that he did not condemn her. He did not say that she was forgiven but rather that she was not condemned and that he does not condemn her.
Have we taken the time to forgive those who have trespassed against us? Forgiveness is an act of love for the one who has offended us. In doing so we can demonstrate our love for them and help them at the same time to repent of that which they have done.
The blessing of the children is another example. Christ reached out to the children, wanting to bless and teach them.
Mark 10:14 13-16
13 ¶And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
While these are certainly some great examples of Christ like love perhaps the greatest of all the examples of his love is his atoning sacrifice for all of us. The scriptures describe this event as one of extreme pain and suffering even so much that our savior bled from his pores of his skin. Luke chapter 22 records this event in verses 42-44
This however was not the end of his suffering, for it was after this that he was lifted up on the cross as his final act of atonement we read what has been recorded as some of his final words before his death
33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
Christ’s great love for us, spoken from the cross was perhaps not just spoken about those who were crucifying him but for all of us that have lived, do now live and will yet live in this mortal existence. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”
Christ like love as we can see from the scriptures is a love that conquers all, forgives all and has nothing but compassion for others. It is a love that seeks to reach out to all and provide for all in every capacity. It seeks to bless others, edify and uplift, and strengthen.
How do we develop Christ like love in our own lives?
Well this is not something that is easily done. Perhaps even more difficult to explain as this process can be much different for every person. What I do know is that the lord does provide a way for us to develop this love much like a refiners fire.
One of the methods the Lord uses to help us is trials. It is through trials that we learn what it is to suffer, and because of this we can provide council and comfort to others. We will all go through trials in this life, many will be more difficult that others. These trials, in addition to strengthening us for our own benefit have the added benefit of giving us the capacity to empathize and have sympathy for others.
One other method we can use to help us develop this christ like love is to count our blessings. When we stop to take the time to really truly understand how blessed we are we will begin to understand how much worse we could have it.
Truly comprehending our blessings can help us go without when others need something we have. By understanding our blessings we can be more ready to part with our things and help those in need. Much of this process is begun in our homes and the environment in which we are raised. From the November 1973 new era an article titled divinely inspired it touches on this idea
“We have said again and again, and I repeat it now, that the most important work we will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes. Give the child love in the home, and the home will give our auxiliaries well-adjusted children who can feel the lessons of love of God and man taught in the Church.
The experience of love in one’s early youth enables him to develop the ability to feel within the feelings the urges that create the attitudes that result in a truly religious life. It is these feelings that supply the motivation for good works.”
For me one of the most important aspects of developing and showing Christ like love is to never judge others. As the scriputues put it “why beholdest thou the mote in thy brothers eye and not the beam in they own.”
I know what it is like to be on the recieving end of harsh judgements of those who took no time to try to understand but rather prefer to condemn before understanding. Those who were quick to act without thinking through the very serious potential consequences to my family. A wiseman once said, the best of intentions can result in the greatest of harm. It is for this reason that we must never, rush to judgment, but seek first to understand, have compassion and seek to help. Christ never sought to judge but showed compassion and love.
Next time you may be thinking about or judging others, as so many have, without even trying to understand, I would encourage you to remember the words of this hymn which I would like to share with you. It is this one hymn that truly helps us to understand the christ like love.
1. A poor, wayfaring Man of griefHath often crossed me on my way,Who sued so humbly for reliefThat I could never answer nay.I had not pow’r to ask his name,Whereto he went, or whence he came;Yet there was something in his eyeThat won my love; I knew not why.
2. Once, when my scanty meal was spread,He entered; not a word he spake,Just perishing for want of bread.I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,And ate, but gave me part again.Mine was an angel’s portion then,For while I fed with eager haste,The crust was manna to my taste.
3. I spied him where a fountain burstClear from the rock; his strength was gone.The heedless water mocked his thirst;He heard it, saw it hurrying on.I ran and raised the suff’rer up;Thrice from the stream he drained my cup,Dipped and returned it running o’er;I drank and never thirsted more.
4. ‘Twas night; the floods were out; it blewA winter hurricane aloof.I heard his voice abroad and flewTo bid him welcome to my roof.I warmed and clothed and cheered my guestAnd laid him on my couch to rest,Then made the earth my bed and seemedIn Eden’s garden while I dreamed.
5. Stript, wounded, beaten nigh to death,I found him by the highway side.I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,Revived his spirit, and suppliedWine, oil, refreshment–he was healed.I had myself a wound concealed,But from that hour forgot the smart,And peace bound up my broken heart.
6. In pris’n I saw him next, condemnedTo meet a traitor’s doom at morn.The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,And honored him ‘mid shame and scorn.My friendship’s utmost zeal to try,He asked if I for him would die.The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill,But my free spirit cried, “I will!”
7. Then in a moment to my viewThe stranger started from disguise.The tokens in his hands I knew;The Savior stood before mine eyes.He spake, and my poor name he named,“Of me thou hast not been ashamed.These deeds shall thy memorial be;Fear not, thou didst them unto me.
And that is the gospel according to Andrew