Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 ESV
The way medical staff treated dying people appalled her—and she decided to do something about it.
Dame Cicely Saunders was a nurse, social worker, and Christian. Seeing medical personnel treat the dying as tokens of failure—or totally ignoring them—disturbed her. Caring for the dying had been one of the church’s seven works of mercy, but no one wanted to listen to her. She was just a nurse. So she returned to medical school and became a doctor. Then she founded a place where people could come and die with dignity and without pain. We now call it the hospice movement.
Hospices exist in more than forty countries with more than two thousand in the United States. Saunders believed Christians offered the best physical, emotional, and spiritual care for people facing death. Although not literally, Saunders laid down her life for her friends.
Jesus said no greater love existed than that found in a person who gave their life for someone else. He did—and for millions who cared nothing about Him. Yet He loved.
Loving as Jesus does means adopting an unconditional attitude. God loves unconditionally. He doesn’t accept people unconditionally—repentance and belief are necessary—but He loves without placing conditions on anyone. He loves because He created every individual with a purpose and a plan. Only with God’s assistance—which He gives in the person of the indwelling Spirit—can I love others unconditionally as Jesus does.
Jesus’ love led to action. Not just the cross—although that was His ultimate love act—but in His daily actions. He healed those others didn’t want to touch, and He associated with the dregs of society, showing in the process that no one is beyond God’s concern.
Loving as Jesus did entails taking action regardless of my feelings. Sometimes, I don’t feel like loving certain folks. Their personalities, life situations, or appearance rebuff me. Jesus didn’t let anything keep Him from reaching out to others.
When I love as Jesus did, I’ll love in spite of opposition and misunderstanding. The religious elite railed Jesus for spending time with notorious sinners and unclean folks. Jesus told them He came for those who were sick—physically and more importantly, spiritually.
Don’t let anyone or anything keep you from loving as Jesus loved. You’ll never regret laying down your life for others.
Tweetable: Do you love as Jesus did?
Prayer: Father, may we lay down our lives daily for others as You did for us.