How To Truly Love the Other

In our world today there are cries to love people, and for everyone to act more like Jesus. But, what does it even mean to love like Jesus? Is loving like Jesus mean that we stand in complacency with a “you do you, I do me” mentality? Luckily, Jesus tells us in Scripture how to love people.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you”

Jesus tells us straight forward that we have to love everyone as He loved all of us! How exactly did He love us though? The answer to that question can be found at the cross on Calvary. 
When Jesus suffers His passion that leads to His death He is showing us what love looks like. Love is sacrifice, even to the point of death. How often do we sacrifice for others? I know that personally, I can be self-centered and as a result I do not even bother to sacrifice for anyone in my life. A life that is not self-centered means that we need to call our brothers and sisters to a higher standard of life, which is life where we truly hate sin.  
To truly love someone, is to imitate Christ to the fullness. Christ met people in their sin, but He never let them continue their sin! We are to do the exact same thing, so as a result, to love a brother or sister we must call each other out of our sin so that we can follow Jesus with our whole heart. We are doing our friends a disservice if we allow them to stay in a life full of sinful habits. 
Not only this, but Jesus is calling us to something higher by living a life of love, which is a life of sacrifice. Jesus even explicitly tells us to sacrifice so much for the other, that we are to die for them! At first glance this is sort of crazy, but this is the way to be fully alive. When Jesus died on the cross, He became fully alive through His resurrection. 

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend”

To die for our friends is an extremely heavy task, but this is the greatest form of love! Luckily we are not alone in carrying out this task. To die for your friends is not merely a physical action. When we are with our friends we need to die to ourselves, so that they may be brought closer to Christ. To lay down one’s life for their friends is not just physical, but emotional. Whether it be letting them be in the spotlight, or allowing them to speak instead of yourself, we are called to love in these moments. This is obviously harder said than done, but thankfully we have Christ to assist us with this. What kind of loving God would He be if He commanded a task, but wouldn't be there to assist us in doing so? If we are to be made in His image and likeness, we must become a TRUE image of God. To be a true image means that there must be a form of sacrifice for there to be a form of love.

But how do I love the other?

“To love is to will the good of the other”
— Thomas Aquinas

This famous quote by Thomas Aquinas is well known, but few understand how to implement it into their lives. Aquinas is right on tract, with what Christ taught, with saying this for, to will someone’s good is to BE their good. Jesus did not just will our good, but He became our good! To will someone’s good is more than wishing them the best of luck. We are called to be the good of the other, for this is the only way to truly will their good! This is exactly what love truly means, and if we are to become love we must imitate this. A simple way I attempt to implement this into my own life is to make myself available whenever a friend is in need. Saint Augustine says that there is no mistakes or unplanned events, it is all Divine encounters. If we take those to heart then when a friend needs help with something, and we don’t want to do it, we can die to ourself and help them, for this is what Christ would do. More importantly, this is exactly what Christ did.
Also, to will their good means that we can not allows our friends and family to dwell in the midst of their sins. If we allow this, then we can not expect them to give Christ everything. If we truly desire to love them, we must lead them to Christ. This is because Christ simply is love itself. What would happen if we took love seriously and called a relative that we haven’t spoken to in awhile, if we made amends with those around us, or if we viewed everyone as a reflection of Love? The world would change overnight and the Divine Love from Christ would become more radiant than ever before. Let us trust in His commands for we know that they are good, for if we trust then we can truly start to love. 

God bless, 
Seth Conrad