Before Jesus departed to be with the Father, he encouraged his disciples by stating that one of the clearest marks of their fellowship with him will be found in their love for one another (John 13:34 – 35).
How is this possible?
Because the love they are to give to each other is to be the same love that Jesus gives to them.
Now, instantly a ton of thoughts can come to our mind about the characteristics of Jesus’ love, like: sacrificial, compassionate, patient, or any other adjective used in 1 Corinthians 13. But one of the things I often fail to give much consideration to, in both my thoughts and actions, is how Jesus’ love is also an initiating love. It’s a love that always takes the first step towards another.
“We love, because he first loved us”, says John (1 John 4).
This is one of the most beautiful things about Jesus; his love is always there first. We don’t have to coax it, or earn it, because it’s already been given. It’s there for us, just waiting to be wanted.
And all of us want it, even if we’re too proud to admit it. We all want a love that is not scared to meet us where we are. A love that is unhindered by the risk we present or the baggage we carry. This is why Jesus was so magnetic - because when you were around him you knew you had his love.
I think when Jesus encourages his disciples, he’s encouraging them towards representing this kind of love, his initiating love.
Using his own love as an example, Jesus challenges us to step out and take a risk. To follow his lead in offering up of what every human being in this world longs to receive: love, worth, and belonging. Before they ever even offer it to us.
To close, I offer up this poem by Hafez that I believe compliments what I’m trying to say. It’s titled: With That Moon Language.
Everyone you see, you say to them,
Of course you do not do this out loud;
Someone would call the cops.
Still though, think about this,
This great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
That is always saying,
With that sweet moon
What every other eye in this world
Is dying to