John 13:34-35 - "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." (NLT)
Lesson From Scripture: Jesus on the Cross
It may seem cliche, but Jesus' willingness to die for the world's sins is the epitome of love. It is the example of love that we should all strive toward. Jesus didn't have to die for our sins. He could have given in to the demands of the Pharisees. He could have said he was not the Messiah, but he did not. He knew what telling the truth meant, and he was willing to die up on that cross - a terrible and torturous death. He was beaten and cajoled. He was pierced. And yet, he did it all for us, so that we would not have to die for our sins.
Jesus tells us in John 13 to love one another as He has loved us. How much do you show love to those around you? How much do you care about those that are not very kind to you? What sacrifices are you making to help those around you? While all of the kindness, goodness, and joy are wonderful fruits of the Spirit, they are still not as great as love.
Having love like Jesus means growing a love for everyone. That is not always the simplest thing to do. People say mean things. They hurt us, and sometimes it is hard to keep our focus on love. Sometimes Christian teens are so hurt that they find it difficult to love anyone, not just those that hurt them. Other times messages get in the way of us loving ourselves, so it is hard to love others.
Still, having a love like Jesus' can be found in your heart. Through prayer and effort Christian teens can find themselves loving even the most difficult people. You don't have to like someone's actions to love them. Jesus did not like many of the things people around him were doing, but he still loved them. Remember, sin is an action done by a real live person. There is a saying, "hate the sin, not the sinner." We all sin, and Jesus loves us. Sometimes we need to look beyond the act at the person instead.
This week focus your prayers on loving the unlovable. Think of people in your life that you have judged by actions, and ask God to help you look beyond the act. Ask God to open your heart to loving those around you as He loves you, and ask him to heal any hurts that keep you from loving others.