True Love as an Act of Listening

By Thomas Dreyer

Love is our core focus as Christians. It is the first thing that drew us to God through Christ, and it is the act that not only changes lives but hearts and minds also. In the COVID 19 crisis we find ourselves in, we encourage one another more than ever to love your neighbor. This act of love could mean staying in quarantine or helping another out with groceries or praying for those in need. But let’s step back for a moment and talk about love on a different scale, love beyond what we deem needed for this particular virus outbreak. We have the command to love others as Christ has loved us. Mostly we do our utter best to act in love in whatever we do. We would go through quite some lengths to love others. There is just one problem in our equation, because so many times we love selfishly. When we love others in the way we think or want to love them, we are loving people in a selfish way, and I don’t think it is needed to mention that this is not love at all. I can love people by giving to them or doing favors for them, whenever and however I think they need it, but this is not sufficient, and it is not true love.

The love of Christ is a sacrificial love. It is a love that placed Christ in the background and us in focus. Philippians 2:5-8 says;

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,

did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

7 rather, he made himself nothing

by taking the very nature of a servant,

being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in appearance as a man,

he humbled himself

by becoming obedient to death—

even death on a cross!

God did not love us in a way that God wanted to love us, God loved us in a way we needed to be loved. We find throughout the life of Jesus that he never gave to others what he wanted to give, but rather what they needed instead. He met people where they are and loved them the way they needed to be loved. The women at the well, was met by Jesus, not in the company of all the disciples but alone and at a place where men never used to come. Wells were places only women gathered at. In that safe space and comfortable place, Jesus met the women and confronted her with the needed grace about her lifestyle at the time.

It is of the utmost importance that we get rid of our selfish love. If we are to love others as Christ has loved us, we need to get our knees on the ground and our ears finely tuned to the need of others. It is only if we meet people where they are and love them the way they need to be loved, that we are truly loving others.

Charity starts at home and so I want to encourage you to start at home loving those around you with a true love instead of a selfish love. Try expressing your love to your spouse or family members in a way that they want to and need to experience it. For a moment, place your own ideas of how to express this love on the side and listen closely to how they need to experience this love. Then try to express your love for them in the way they wanted and needed it most.

May God give you grace for this task, and may God give you wisdom to love selflessly beyond your home.

Amen