What was the greatest commandment? It was to love the Lord your God, and second to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40).
In the last blog, I left off talking about dropping our spirit of fear and adopting a spirit of humility. Today’s blog, as you might have guessed, is about love, and having the heart of a servant. You know, there is actually a passage in the Bible about fear and love. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear… We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:18-19).
A Spirit of Humility
We all know the passage of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples in John 13:1-17, but I want to really consider it, and let it sink into our hearts.
Let’s take a walk in the dust of Rabbi Jesus for a moment. Everyone wore sandals. Feet were dirty as people walked on a desert floor of filth and animal excrement. Every house had a basin of water at the entry way so that people could wash their filthy feet before entering the home. The affluent homes had a servant who would wash the feet of the guest. This was a job that none of us would desire.
When Jesus washed the feet of his disciples he was taking on the form of a servant. He was walking in complete humility. This is our Lord whose Father was the King of the universe. Our Messiah lowered Himself to the role of a servant, washing away our filth so that we could enter His house!
Jesus also has a call to action for us: “Do you understand what I have done for you?… You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:12-15). In other words, love one another through service. The inverse is also true; Galatians 5:13 says, “Through love serve one another”.
The greatest commandments are all about love. Regardless of your or my feelings or innocence, our Black brothers and sisters have not felt loved. We might not have been the cause, but we can try to be the solution, and pour out our love like a cup that runneth over.
Who did Jesus first reveal Himself to as Savior? A Samaritan woman who historically was considered less than a Jewish man, not only because of gender, but also race. Jesus chose this woman who was persecuted for her race, gender, marital status, and religion. She would draw water from the well during the heat of the day to even avoid the rejection of her own people. Jesus chose to reveal Himself with the opportunity for salvation and true love.
Jesus was rejected by the Romans, and even by the Jews, His own people, just like the Samaritan woman. He understood what it was like to be rejected, despised, and marginalized. The message Jesus communicated to this five-time divorcee was that He stood for the broken, wounded, discarded and disenfranchised. He chose to reveal Himself to a woman who had been treated horribly. He died and came back to life to save every one of us, even those who rejected Him. And it was all because of love.
The Bible has a lot to say about love, and what it is and is not. We know the very familiar 1 Corinthians 13 passage about love, but I want to include it here in full as a reminder, because we can always improve our love, for God, for others, and for ourselves.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
Jesus did come to save us all, but He also understood what it was like to be acquainted with grief, despised and rejected and marginalized. When people are hurting, Jesus takes on a posture of humility. When we respond to Black Lives Matter with “All lives matter,” we are speaking the truth. However, it is probably the opposite of what Jesus would say. “All lives matter” comes out of defensiveness, out of looking to our own affairs first and foremost, out of fear. Jesus would respond with love and humility.
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (I John 3:16). A major part of Christianity is laying down yourself for others. We are called constantly to look not to our own affairs, but rather the affairs of others. We are commissioned to be servants who see the hurting people around us, forgetting our own pain and only seeing that of others.
If someone is hurting, cry with them. If someone is angry, listen with your heart. Learn to hug those you disagree with. It is essential that we lay down our pride and be imitators of Christ. Do not misconstrue a movement for a cry of pain from people we are called to love and walk in unity with. We have to be willing to take a position of humility and servanthood, to be a servant of God who sees the sufferings of others and offers to wash their feet.
I will leave you with this passage:
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another” (Romans 12:9).
It’s been great to see you, friend.