A realization that has dawned on me ever so slowly over the many years of my life is the startling truth that I do not know how to love well or maybe even at all, on my own. Like every other human I measure myself against what I see in others’ behavior and conclude I’m not that bad. After all, I love others well compared to so and so. But the challenging circumstances of life, for me the trials of parenting and marriage, revealed that my heart was full of selfishness that came out in anger toward my children and my husband. It was an ugly discovery.
But Jesus never compared Himself to anyone except His Father. His standard was supreme. Paul Miller’s book, Love Walked Among Us, illuminated for me the vast difference between natural human love and the love of Jesus.
The book is filled with personal stories from Paul’s journey in learning to love his autistic daughter–who, for example, would bang on a wall for hours—this book was one I marked profusely and have kept it near for referencing. (to listen to Paul discussing this topic on FamilyLife Today, click here)
All who know Jesus as Savior are in this eye-opening journey from our own fallible shallow love to receiving His love and then to learning and relearning to give it away to others. Often He puts hard to love people in our lives to expose our dire need for the Love only He can give. It’s quite an unpleasant realization but a healthy one, like receiving a grave diagnosis and in the next instant learning there is a perfect, though arduous, cure.
Experiencing His miraculous love for someone you deem unlovable is becoming “a partaker of the divine nature!” (2 Peter 1:4). I find it stunning to imagine the perfect love of God can be experientially yours and mine, if we are willing to recognize our own is not nearly enough. Join me in learning to love like Jesus as you pray this prayer.