Sunday, May 15, 2022

Love One Another

“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Jesus continues, “And here is how to measure it- the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends.” After Jesus taught His disciples about love, and prayed, they crossed to the Kidron Valley where He was betrayed. 

Usually when I think about this self-sacrificing kind of love, the kind of love that Jesus had, I think of the larger than life saints like Maximillian Kolbe, who volunteered to die in place of another prisoner in Auschwitz. Kolbe was a hero many times over before he sacrificed his life for another in that Nazi concentration camp. And there are many other saints who sacrificed their lives in love for others. 

But there are ordinary people who live extraordinary lives as well. Ronnie Smith was a 33 yr. old chemistry teacher in Austin, Texas, when he and his wife discovered that Chemistry teachers were much needed in Libya. Ronnie decided to go in spite of the many warnings he received. “They’ll see you as an enemy! They’ll kill you!” 

“I don’t care,” he said, “My life is in Jesus’ hands, my after life is in Jesus’ hands. Even if they do kill me, I’m still going.”

After 18 months of teaching in the International School of Benghazi, four unidentified gunmen in a black Jeep shot him down in December 5, 2013. Two weeks later his widow Anita wrote an open letter that was spread all over the news. When she and her husband had traveled to Libya, they saw the suffering of the Libyan people, “but we also saw your hope, and we wanted to partner with you to build a better future.” To the attackers, she wrote: "I love you and I forgive you." 

She came out on CNN, and told Anderson Cooper, “I just envision the black Jeep driving up to him and I don't know their faces. I just want them to know that God loves them and can forgive them for this. I just really want them to know that I do love them and I forgive them, and Ronnie would want this, and I hope and pray that our son, Hosea, would believe this," she said. “Yeah, they took away my husband. I loved my husband. But it's got to be God's spirit that's pushing me to show them that this is what God wants them to see.” 

In today’s climate of division, hatred, bullying, where truth is attacked by a barrage of lies, we too can practice the radical love Jesus espouses. 

How do we love as Jesus loves? How do we forgive as Jesus forgives? Only by His grace and Spirit within us! 

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I am so glad you dropped by! You are a blessing!
:^) Patsy