‘Love Like Christ’ -- Really?!?
I just finished a book entitled “The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen Year Old Boy with Autism” by Naoki Higshida. Naoki learned to use a keyboard and although he cannot communicate by conventional means (language, sign language) he is able to eloquently describe what it is like to have autism. He writes about his inability to respond to questions, problems with compulsive behaviors, memory that is non-sequential, emotions that wash over you like a tsunami. It is a brilliantly written book, all from a person a majority of people would consider unequivocally disabled.
In one passage he writes: “The hardest ordeal for us is the idea that we are causing grief for other people. We can put up with our own hardships okay, but the thought that our lives are the source of other people’s unhappiness, that’s plain unbearable.” It broke my heart to know that this child was more concerned about that ‘trouble’ he was causing others than his own suffering.
This made me stop and think – how many people suffer in pain and we don’t even realize it. So many people struggle with disability, poverty, insecurity, physical pain, mental pain, emotional trama – the list goes on and on. Yet, when I encounter someone who may be rude, slow or frustrating, I am all too quick to judge or get angry.
For this reason Christ admonishes us in John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” OK, so how much of a rat-head do I feel like? Jesus Christ (the kindest, most caring, gracious and loving person that ever lived) loves me (a mostly selfish, judgmental, shallow, sinful person). If I am to love others as Christ loved me, well, it’s a game changer. That other person does not have to be pleasant or kind to me, but it is up to me to love them, be gracious to them and show them mercy.
Kinda hard in a messed up world – but the one thing that will help fix the mess.