Friday, November 30, 2007

deeply caring about others

Deeply caring about others can get us in trouble if not done wisely. What I mean is related to "the Jesus Creed" which tells us that we're to love God with all of our being and doing, and we're to love our neighbor as ourselves. Of course those two commands are linked for us. This is how we as humans are meant to live, even beginning now in Jesus.

The trick in part is with loving our neighbor as ourselves. The question in part is really just how we're to love ourselves. We're to do so not in a self-indulgent, self-idolatrous way, but in the Jesus way. This is an important aspect of loving ourselves, surely; one in which we find our true lives in Jesus. I think this aspect would be taken for granted or imbedded in this command, as well as the thought that we naturally care for ourselves.

Grace must be applied here. And this grace of God in Jesus is not only an offering of salvation to all, but it's a grace which never condones what is displeasing to God. And insists on exemplary, pure lives beginning with each of our own lives, as we look forward to Jesus' return.

Let's keep working at deeply caring for others in the Jesus way, even as we endeavor to truly live in that way, ourselves.

What would you add here?


Rachel Mc said...

I live between two worlds, secular
and christian. I find myself acting/reacting to each group differently. I deeply care for both however the two worlds don't often combine well. I sometimes wonder, in Jesus' time here, He surely ran into people who didn't accept him and his message. Did he pursue them? Did he treat them any different than his apostles?
Obviously he prayed for them and deeply cared for them, but what did he do when he came across someone who just wouldn't accept him and his message? I find myself backing away from my secular friends who just don't want to hear what I have to say.
Do I love them as deeply as my christian friends? Yes, but their is something missing.

sacred vapor said...

The trick with loving yourself is removing pride, which is always hard to do for me.


Anonymous said...

yes, we should focus on God and be in the Spirit and be open to giving God's love to others in the way that God wants. for if we try to give what we want to give in our way it is not usually what others truly need or what is best for them or us.

thank you for your post. good one to think and pray on.

Anonymous said...

just wanted to add these two posts from my reading this morning.

thou shalt love at

june..this is cheese at

Ted M. Gossard said...

I don't know if this is because I'm using this laptop of our daughter's, but it's unnerving to lose an entire comment, but here goes again....

Rachel Mc,
I liked the way I was able to express it, and I can't hope to duplicate it now- but thanks for your thoughtful comment as well as for your example of deep love to all. We all need this, in Jesus, in our hearts and worked out in our lives, to others, in spite of our weaknesses and failings along the way.

I like Scot McKnight's term for humans as "cracked Eikons". I interpret that as meaning humans have relationships but there is something missing and in need of the reconciling work of God in Christ. In this sense, while we do have a special bond with all who are in Christ and part of this new humanity, we also have a deep resonance with all who as Eikons (made in the IMAGE; eikon is Greek New Testament word translated "image") of God are therefore sacred, even when they may have descended to a deep betrayal of their humanity.

Thanks again.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Also Rachel (I thought I had expressed this), thanks so much for your thoughtful, challenging comment.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Removing pride. Yes, we're to humble ourselves before the Lord, and we're to live with complete humility with each other.

All we have and are is a gift from God and we're so interdependent on each other as well as so dependent on God- that as we more and more realize that, pride should be less and less a problem with us.

I am astonished at how it can creep up on me, though.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Good thought on how we can love our neighbors as ourselves in the Jesus way. And thanks for the posts.

Lynet said...

Actually, speaking as one who used to be so terribly perfectionist that she was on the verge of hating herself, I really do think that "love your neighbour as yourself" works both ways. Just as you care for yourself, you should care for those around you. But also, do not be harsher on yourself than you would have others be on themselves.

Jesus said to forgive others, that you might be forgiven by God. I forgive others so that I can with consistency forgive myself.

Ted M. Gossard said...

That's an excellent thought. Measuring how I treat myself in relation to how I believe others should be treated. We can be oh so hard on ourselves. But grace, and I take it as from God, is what we need towards each other. A kind of in-built grace is a part of who we are as Eikons of God, I believe. But we need more than that in our brokenness to begin to be mended back towards are full humanity- in Jesus.

Thanks for that angle. Good to think on.

Ted M. Gossard said...

By the way, I want to add that being human has everything to do with relationships- to God, to ourselves, to each other and to the world.

This is what the reconciling work of God in Christ is all about.