Many Christians love the idea of Christianity but not the act of personal sacrifice in love to others. They like to talk about sacrifice every Sunday and celebrate the sacrifice Christ made for us. They talk about how important it is to love our neighbors and to give away the love Christ so freely gives to us.
But, for so many, talk is where living the life of Christ stops.
Loving People Is Hard
Loving people is hard, otherwise, it wouldn’t be called sacrifice. To truly love someone, as Christ loves us, means we actually love them the way Christ demonstrates His love for us. It will require us to put our time and resources into the process. It requires patience and then… more patience… In some cases, the person receiving all this love may never acknowledge or appreciate it.
This kind of love makes us sound like we’re encouraged to be doormats… But, not in the sense you may be thinking.
Let’s Talk Door Mats
Doormats, offer people a place to clean their feet before entering the house. They give these travelers a place to shed the dirt and grime they have picked up along the way. The doormat lays itself down to be treaded on at the most important location of the house… The doorway.
It welcomes worn feet and long journeys by allowing the dirt of the traveler to transfer to itself so the person may enter the house being clean. It stands as the gateway offering all who enter the ability to enter without carrying all the dirt of their journey.
But doormats aren’t weak.
They can withstand the harshest of weather and the dirtiest of shoes. And, they always welcome even the dirtiest of traveler’s.
Under The Rug
Up to this point, I’m sure you are thinking I’m using a doormat as a metaphor for us…. But the doormat I’m metaphor-ing looks a whole lot more like the sacrificial love of Christ.
He was willing to lay Himself down to be treaded upon so that we may give Him our worst in exchange for entering the house being clean. But, not because he was weak. It was because he was strong.
At any time He could have chosen to stand up, enter the house and close the door on all of us with dirty feet but, “…for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.” (Heb 12:2) And, “rather, He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:7-8)
Christ showed us what real love is supposed to look like and then simply asks us to take that love He gives to us and give it away to others. Not through cheap talk, emotional rhetoric, church attendance, or even expressive worship… But instead by offering ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God as our true and proper worship. (Rom. 12:1)
Christ showed us what real love is supposed to look like and then simply asks us to take that love He gives to us and give it away to others.
He asks us to follow Him by denying ourselves and taking up our cross and following Him. (Matt. 16:24) The life of Christ is a life that challenges us to love our neighbors who are like ourselves (Mark 12:31) And while we can never take the dirt of others and make them clean we can introduce them to the One who has done it for us by the way we live. (1 Peter 2:12)
He stepped down out of heaven to do the will of the Father (John 6:38) and “He bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds we were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
Doormat & Doorway
Christ became, for us, the doormat and the doorway to the Father.
We then should consider the depth of our love for one another. Because we will be known either by our love or our lack of it and sometimes love requires us to lay down our lives for the sake of someone else seeing what real love looks like.
That kind of love gets dirt on it…. But real love makes dirty things clean anyway.
This is a touchy and difficult topic that I could spend an entire book writing about. But while I like to keep my posts here short I do feel like it’s important I clarify that by making a case for loving like Christ I am NOT saying you should allow yourself to be abused just to feel more Christ-like. While there are martyrs and persecution for many who share the love of Christ, not all situations fall into these two categories. God gave us His Spirit and the church to guide us through difficult situations with people. If you find yourself in one of these situations, I would advise you to seek guidance from a pastor, counselor, or trusted source who can guide you in love & wisdom. If you don’t have access to either of these sources, then please contact me and I will do my best to point you in the right direction of someone who can help.