Jesus: Our model for loving others
At Subiaco Academy, we have four values that we focus on: Faith, Scholarship, Character, and Brotherhood. Our mission is to see Christ in each student as we guide him in his response to God, aid the development of his known and hidden talents, and foster his growth into manhood. To bring our values to life and live out this critical mission, I believe we should focus on the example that Jesus Christ gave us during his time on earth. He taught us to have faith, hope, and love, and expressed that the greatest of these was to love. For many, the idea of loving each other can be uncomfortable to consider, so let’s spend a few minutes leaning into our discomfort.
Before we can pursue a life modeled after Christ and filled with the love for others, we should examine what it means to love, especially the way Jesus taught us.
Jesus Christ is the complete illustration of our Heavenly Father’s love for others. He is our great teacher and he provided the blueprint for how to live out our lives. The concepts of loving one another (John 13:34) and loving our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39) were perfectly demonstrated by Jesus. He has commanded us, his followers, to replicate his great example.
Love has many meanings and for us in this community I think it is important to separate love as a feeling and love as behavior. After all, sometimes in our daily interaction we find it hard to like one another other, never mind to love each other. Seeing love as a verb (our actions) and not a noun (our feelings) might help to solidify Christ’s example of love for our daily interactions with other humans.
Love defined in English dictionaries conjures up the human expression of feelings, namely affection, strong attachment, and attraction. This is most likely manifested in thoughts of family members loving each other or romantic involvement with someone else.
The ancient Greeks identified six definitions of love, but it was one known as agape, or divine love, that most closely aligns with the love that Christ calls us to emphasize in our daily lives. This love calls us to extend ourselves, to behave in ways that lift others up instead of tearing them down.
How should my life reflect my relationships and the pursuits of the love that Christ has modeled? If a person is walking with God on the inside, then their life (words, decisions, and actions) should reflect a distinct character on the outside.
Interestingly enough, there is a common bible passage that is read at many wedding ceremonies. After researching the concept of loving one another as a verb, I think we should consider these scripture verses in our regular and everyday lives.
1st Corinthians chapter 13 – the first 8 versus: If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
As we hear and contemplate these words describing love, let us act out their meaning by thinking of love as a verb – how do our actions toward others reflect the teachings and lessons of Jesus Christ. Instead of thinking of love in the romantic sense, let’s practice love for each other by listening, having compassion, being respectful, and practicing encouragement.
This type of love is a service to others and brings glory to God. May God bless you in your pursuit of an extraordinary and fulfilling life. Onward Trojans!