Ladies Corner

Ladies Corner

He Loved Him

Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’” And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions (Mark 10:17-22).

There are so many good things to learn from this brief account, but I want to focus on a particular phrase. Notice what Mark tells us that Jesus did as he looked at the young man—he “loved him.” Jesus loved him. Then notice what Jesus said to him as he loved him. He did not say, “Great job, you are to be commended for your fabulous keeping of these laws. You will have no problem inheriting eternal life.” No, what Jesus said was, “One thing you lack…” He told this man the truth—the hard, blunt truth. He told him that he had to do more than follow a list of rules. He told him that he had to sacrifice, make a commitment, and follow Jesus.

People like to talk about love—God is love, Jesus loves me, God loves you. All these statements are true, but the problem is our understanding of “love.” When Jesus loved this man, He told him what he needed to hear and what he needed to do. He did not pat him on the back and try to make him feel good about himself. He told him what he lacked. That is part of real love—helping someone understand what is needed to be righteous. Yet we sometimes think that loving someone means overlooking sins, ignoring problems, and artificially building up self-esteem.

Not only did Jesus tell this man what he lacked, He let him go away when he was unwilling to do what Jesus had said. How many of us would have said, “Hey, wait a minute…maybe you’re fine the way you are. I’m sure I’m being too strict, so let’s just forget about it.” Jesus did not soften the message or back down from the truth because the young man did not respond positively to it.

What about us? Do we love people the way Jesus loved this man?

If we love the way Jesus loves, we will be found “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) so that we can help our husbands, children, and fellow Christians see how they can be more godly and understand when they are erring. We will be found teaching the truth to our family members and friends who are not Christians. Pretending that everyone is fine and everyone is going to Heaven is not real love.

If those to whom we talk accept the truth, then we rejoice. However, if they do not accept it, we cannot change it or back down! Sometimes we have to let them go, as Jesus did. We may teach and try to persuade to no avail, we may emotionally drain ourselves in an effort to bring someone back to faithfulness—and we may fail. I can tell you from experience that it is discouraging and heartbreaking when that happens. But, it does not change the truth.

We should also understand that when others correct us or talk to us about ways to improve ourselves, they are showing their love for us! (I realize some may have poor motives for giving correction, but let’s trust that most Christians are not like that.) As we study for ourselves or hear lessons presented from God’s word, and we see things that we need to do to be more godly, let’s remember that God is speaking to us in love, trying to help us learn how to please Him.

When we sing “Jesus Loves Me” with our kids, we should remember that His love motivates Him to tell us what we lack just as He did the young man in Mark 10. Our love, likewise, should motivate us to tell others what they lack. As God loves us, let us love each other enough to help each other inherit eternal life.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:7-11)

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. (1 John 5:1-2)