How To Love Like Jesus

There is only one thing on this earth that can make my blood boil with anger.  That has the power to make my face and ears turn so red, as a result, they are almost purple. That thing is people. Yet, I am commanded to love people like Jesus.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” ‭‭ ‬‬

1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:1‬ ‭ESV

Only the sharp bite of people’s insults can create a distaste in my mouth. Can cause me to clench my teeth in bitter fury. And make my stomach churn in disgust when they speak ill of my character. However, I am commanded to love people like Jesus.

“And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” ‭‭‬‬

1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:2‬ ‭ESV

The repeated blow of gossip to my self-image can drive me mad. It can create in me a near paranoia. Looking for the hidden meaning behind whispers or side glances. Tempting me to spread my own gossip in return. Except that I am commanded to love people like Jesus.

“If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” ‭‭‬‬

1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:3‬ ‭ESV

It is people who can turn on my nasty attitude with a snide comment or criticism. Who can make me lose sleep obsessing over how they treated me. Driving me to tears when they treat me as insignificant or third-rate, not even worth their time. As if my “position in life is so decidedly beneath” them. And yet, I am to love difficult people like Jesus.

“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… But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

Luke 6:32-33, 35-36

God’s Will For Your Life Is To Love People

In the God’s will for our lives post, it was argued that God’s will for us is to reflect his image to those around us. We have been promoted to the position of Ambassadors Of Christ and therefore, must strive to glorify Him in how we live. Jesus came to earth and modeled that job for us perfectly. Part of what he modeled for us was how to love others. Not just love, but agape love.

Agape love is the highest form of love. It is not brotherly love or the love between spouses. Agape love is the love of God, which is unselfish and seeks nothing in return. Jesus showed us how to love others like God. That includes people who mistreat us, annoy us, or test the limits of our patience.

Is it impossible to love like Jesus?

Truth be told, this feels like an impossible task. Love is not the first thing on my mind when I have been stung by someone’s attack. Like a swarm of angry wasps, resentful thoughts buzz around my head, trying to keep love at bay.

It is in moments like this that I have to remind myself that I am people too. I have used my teeth to wound with insults and used a sharp comment to sting. I have been for some, the difficult person to love. This is why I need to “remind myself of the gospel daily.” Because I too am a person responsible for nailing Christ to the cross. My gratefulness for my forgiveness and my desire to glorify Christ because of it should lead me to love people like Jesus.

God doesn’t require of us anything that He hasn’t already provided. Romans 5:5 tells us that “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” And Paul reminds us in Phillippians 4 that we can “do all things through Christ who strengthens” us in both easy times and hard. We still struggle with sin, every day. Yet as believers, we have been given the love of God AND given the power to share it with others.

How do we love like Jesus?

When we look to Jesus, we can see that he tells us exactly how to love people:

  • Pray for them
  • Do good to them
  • Be merciful to them

Pray for them

In Matthew 5:44, Jesus tells us, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Prayer focuses our hearts and helps us depend more deeply on the Lord. Only prayer can help us be like Jesus who, “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). Only prayer will put us in the right mindset to love people like Jesus.

We should be praying for the heart of those who make us miserable. If they are not Christians, our first concern should be for their salvation. We should be praying for the Lord to soften their hardened hearts and help them see the need for a savior. Loving them despite how they treat you reflects the love of Jesus to them.

It is possible that those who wound us are Christians. We should then be praying that the Lord reveals to them the areas in their life where they are still in need of refining. If instead we attack them, we may increase their bitterness and stand in the way of a lesson the Lord has for them.

We should pray for unity as Jesus did in John 17: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.” Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” Do you want to be the person to show the world that unconditional Godly love is possible or no?

While we are praying for them, we should also be praying for ourselves. Perhaps the Lord has brought this person or people into your life to help prune away areas where you need refining. Pray that the Lord open your own eyes and heart so that you can better love the difficult people in your life. An excellent place to start is to look to Jesus’ sermon on the mount in Matthew 5. Pray for meekness, to thirst for righteousness, and to be the salt and light of the world. Pray that you love so well, people see Jesus in you.

Do good to them

Scripture tells us that we should not return evil for evil. Instead, scripture tells us to do good to those who hurt us. Paul tells us in Romans 12: “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Dumping burning coals on someone’s head that have mistreated you sounds tempting I’m sure. But the point is not to fulfill some secret desire of ours to see them get what they deserve. We do good to those who mistreat us to bring them to the point of personal awareness and shame. The kind of shame that we are hoping for is the kind that will drive them to their knees and see their need for Christ. That is why we want to love people like Jesus.

If you think that doing good to someone who has hurt you is difficult, just remember that Judas Betrayed Jesus With Clean Feet.

Show them mercy

Mercy’s definition in the dictionary is “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.” And we would just love to punish people who do us wrong sometimes, wouldn’t we? Can we get that coworker who abuses us fired? Maybe we can get the pastor we dislike removed from office. The ways of punishing people who mistreat us are limitless.

However, we are not to seek out vengeance. In fact, we are to love them like ourselves! Leviticus 19:18 “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” And Jesus repeats this again in Mathew 22: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Vengeance is for the Lord. He will punish the wicked and discipline his children. We show people mercy by giving them the same treatment would want when we screw up or offend. We can not withhold forgiveness but instead offer it freely as a way to show mercy. Jesus showed us how to show mercy perfectly when he died on the cross for our sins. In a loud voice, he cried out “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).


Living in a way that glorifies Christ is the aim of every Christian. Christ gives us the power to do so. This includes giving us the ability to love people, even difficult people, as Jesus loved them. We must pray for them, do good to them and show them the same mercy we want for ourselves. By doing this we reflect the image of Jesus Christ to those around us. We will fail at times! Rest in the fact that we are forgiven for that failure. And let that forgiveness motivate us to improve and try again.

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