“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:16-18
We live in a world with some amazing examples of love and kindness. But we also live in a world with so many horrendous examples of selfishness leading to bad things. I mean look at us, we have a shortage of toilet paper because of our panicked hoarding. We often live in our own little world of existence refusing to notice or perceive others around us who are struggling and in need. Out of self protection, selfishness and ignorance we turn a blind eye to others who are in need. But this passage of scripture is a good reminder that we as Christians are supposed to be laying our lives down for one another as Christ did for all humanity.
I have had some very faithful Christian women literally lay down their life and livelihoods for me. I am the women I am today because of these women. They each hold a very special place in my heart because they made the love of Christ a real tangible thing. Similarly I would not be where I am today without there assistance. There acts of love have provided for me in so many tangible ways. We as Christians should attempt to use the things we have for others in need. The skills, talents, money, and housing we have in abundance should be used for our brothers and sisters who find themselves in need. This is part of what laying ourselves down for one another means. If we are living in abundance and we pass our brother or sister in need and do nothing then we are not filling God’s greatest commandment.
We have to be carful to not over-give or let people take advantage of our kindness. There are many people out there that will abuse our love. This is part of what having healthy boundaries and practicing good self care means. But at the same time it is better to lay your life down for someone who takes advantage of your kindness then to loss your soul to selfishness and greed. For our reward for our love of others is in heaven. We may not see the positive impact up front but our acts of love toward our brother and sister in need always build up God’s kingdom even when we do not see it up front. Or sometimes we get to see a glimpse many years later when this same person who you laid down your life for returns to repay the favor.
Let’s all ask the lord to show us areas within our lives we could do a better job of loving our fellow brother and sister? Where are we living in abundance and thus turning a blind eye to someone else suffering? How can we lay down our lives for one another? Take some time to pray about this and see what God does. May the lord give you eyes to see, a heart to understand, wisdom to perceive the truth and the courage to act. Amen.