There are two types of love in this world. The good news is that God enjoys both of them. The first type of love is the kind that comes with excitement, passion and joy. When we like something beyond normal capacity, we say that we “love this!” In that distinction, people love many things. We love chocolate, cars and movie stars. We love vacationing in Paris, being the center of attention and artwork, and all of that is good. What would life be without that type of love?
The other type of love is the one that is, rather, almost the opposite of the first type. With the first, we love something because we really, really, really like it. The second type of love is when we don’t like someone, but, despite our feelings, we still don’t change our behavior toward him or her. The second type of love is the love that Jesus Christ gave to us. How many people do you think Jesus liked while walking this earth? How many people were like-minded with him? We enjoy people because we relate to them, right? So how many people were like Jesus when he was living? How many people had his same thoughts and beliefs? I’m willing to bet that Jesus didn’t like most of the people he met on this earth.
Both types of love are marvelous, and both of them are good. But the type of love that Jesus gave to us on the cross is more powerful, and, unfortunately, is the more difficult to master.
Jesus was human going through all of the same emotions that we go through. When he was treated unfairly, he knew it. When people spit on him and insulted him, he felt bad about it. When he saw filth in his Father’s temple, he got mad, exceedingly mad–the kind of mad that comes from feeling violated. He got so mad that most of us, if we were in his shoes, would have done a lot worse of things to those people than simply chase them out of the room.
Despite how violated he felt, despite how much abuse he took, despite the people who hurt him, lied to him and screamed in his face he still continued with his mission of salvation for us. For us: the people who don’t’ have the same beliefs, values and thoughts as him–the people who don’t relate to him at all. Because that’s what love is. It has a mission, and it completes it, unconditionally. He used patience, discipline and self control. He used kindness, mercy and generosity on us when we tried to hurt him, and once his mission was complete, he left this heartache called earth and took his throne in heaven.
How about the irony of it all? The irony is that for us to get more of the first type of love, we must first learn how to master the love that Jesus used to give us salvation, because God’s love will not only provide a way for us to receive salvation but will also make this world a better place to live.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:32-36).