We Are Not Called to Just Love Others as We Love Ourselves or to Do Unto Others as We Would Have Them Do Unto Us.
Posted by Eileen
An area I disagree with many Christians about is that Jesus’ ultimate call to love is summed up in, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” and “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” I think these are fundamentally limited ways to love. I have found from experience that, one: I often don’t love myself, and two: how I am able to accept and experience being loved is quite different from a lot of other people. I think at a later time in his journey, Jesus caught on to that too. Then he said to love others as He loved us. That greater love had no one than that they lay down their life for another. He laid down his desires, his gifts and ministries, his power, his limited vision of his purpose, his followers, even ultimately His awareness of God’s presence, as he hung on the cross. He gave up his self- hood. That’s a call most of us avoid hearing. Dying to self involves letting go of pretty much all of our preconceived ideas and natural inclinations in order to get outside of our own self and become able to hear/see/ respond lovingly and appropriately to those different from us. This dying to self is very very hard to do. It was so hard for Jesus that he literally bled in his anguish and then experienced deep despair in his feeling of abandonment by God.
Today, I think we get so nervous about something sounding like we are saying Jesus isn’t God, that we miss what we can learn from his life about our own journey. His life, God or not, was human. He didn’t spring forth fully grown, fully mature, completely understanding his mission, or knowing his future. He came as a baby, vulnerable, innocent, and ignorant. There are some obvious learning events in His life story, and there are also more subtle ones we often miss. Watch him as a twelve year old learn to wait on God’s timing and to consider his parents’ feelings and guidance. Watch him get pushed out of his comfort zone by his mother’s caring about a young couple’s embarrassment on their wedding day, watch him escape from his angry neighbors in Nazareth, but three years later, fully knowing the outcome setting his face toward a hostile Jerusalem, watch as he let’s a gentile woman convince him of his call to minister outside his own religious group as he recognizes the faith of even unbelievers, watch him weep as he recognizes that his own people will not accept his love and salvation, watch him test his power on a fig tree, but then recognize his own servanthood as he washes his disciples feet, watch him struggle in the garden with his realization that he must die young, watch him accept the agony of feeling abandoned by God on the cross, and yet still move to “Thy will be done.” Consider the difference in the difficulty of the moral code of the ten “Do Nots” and the spirituality of the “Beatitudes.” There’s way more to loving than most of us want to know.
Tags: Dying to Self, from Nazareth to Jerusalem, gentile woman, humanity of Jesus, Jesus learning, Jesus' journey, Jesus: Man and God, learning events in Jesus ' life, love as I have loved you, maturing, moral codes: The Do Nots vs The Beatitudes, our journey