John 13:34-35; John 15:12-13
Imagining: a friend in my close circle of friends approaches me and pledges to protect me and sacrifice their life for mine. There is nothing I can do or say to my friend to convince them that I don’t want them to give up their life for mine, that my life is not important enough to be worthy of sacrifice. But I can’t convince my friend to see things my way. Nothing I say will change their mind. My friend will lay down their life for me. This friend loves me that much.
What can I do to repay that offer of protection and sacrifice? How can I show my gratitude for this amazing show of love? Is there anything I can do to appropriately acknowledge the gift that I have been given?
Perhaps the only thing I can do to prove myself worthy of this gift, to show that I truly do appreciate this gift is to do my best to show that magnitude of love and devotion to others. To do whatever I can as a person, a human, a mortal to enrich and sustain the lives of others. ALL others. Others of different faiths, different beliefs, different races, different politics.
Because loving only those who are like me, who are the same as me, is not love. True love is not selective. True love is inclusive. True love includes sacrifice. Sacrifice of self and being. You cannot receive love without giving love in return.
If you were told that the only thing you were required to do in your lifetime was to love everyone, would you? Could you? Would you at least try? We may not be capable of perfect love, but we can certainly try.
And perhaps, with enough effort, we can come close to knowing what it is like to offer our lives as a sacrifice for another’s. To want to do anything to protect someone and ensure their safety, here and now. And later.