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The One Jesus Loves

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.
John 15:9

The Scottish poet Robert Burns longed for the gift “to see ourselves as others see us.” But I long for the gift even more wondrous, and that is to see ourselves as Jesus sees us.

The longing to see myself as Jesus sees me, first came to me when I was a college student reading the works of the sociologist Charles Horton Cooley. Cooley put forth the theory of the “Looking Glass Self” and how we learn to see ourselves through the eyes of the people most important to us. It is in the way a parent, teacher, coach, mentor, friend, and/or boss see us that shapes our self-concept and potential. Just as we look into a mirror and see an image of our physical form, so we look into the eyes of others and see an image of our Self. And don’t we tend to live up to or live down to the way others have seen us?

As I read about the Looking Glass Self I wondered what it might mean to see ourselves as the most important person of all sees us. What would it mean to no longer see ourselves as an overly critical parent saw us, or as a disparaging teacher saw us, but to see ourselves through Jesus’ loving and transforming eyes? What would it be like to see as Jesus saw the flip-flopping Peter and called him the Rock, or to see as Jesus saw the self-righteous Saul of Tarsus and called him an Apostle.

How might your life be changed if you looked in the mirror today and saw what Jesus sees in you? How would your life be changed if you took to heart his loving words:

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.

Who would have dared to imagine such a thing, had not Jesus himself said it: “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you”. The very love that holds the Godhead together, the love of the Father for his coequal Son, who is like him in all things, who always pleases him; this is the love that Jesus has for us. He sees us made in the very image of God, redeemed, and destined for eternity. He sees in us glory in the making, as we are being shaped into something we cannot yet see or imagine.

Christian author Brennan Manning likes to repeat, “I am the one Jesus loves.” At first I thought Manning’s words a bit arrogant, but then realized that he was speaking Scripture. Yes, I am the one Jesus loves, and so are you. Infinite love encompasses all.

There were moments yesterday when I was feeling down on myself and seeing myself only through my accusing eyes. Then I reminded myself that “I am the one Jesus loves.” As I reminded myself of this truth I felt a monstrous weight of guilt and dread lift from my shoulders. Sometimes I even like to imagine myself as “the disciple Jesus loved” (John 13:23), reclining at ease alongside my Lord in the Upper Room. He delights just to be with us!

And Jesus invites us to live in that love: “abide in my love.” To abide in his love is literally an invitation to make our home in his love, to make it the place where we dwell. Jesus does not want us to live any longer in guilt, in shame, or in fear, but to settle back, kick our shoes off, and be at home in his tender, warm, and unending love.

Let me suggest that you take a few moments each day to sit in a chair, lie on the bed, or go for a walk, and repeat to yourself the wonderful truth: “I am the one Jesus loves.” Say it, again and again: “I am the one Jesus loves.” I am certain that if you would do that, it would bring a big smile to Jesus’ face. You are, after all, the one Jesus loves.

Live in His love—Tim Smith

Photo by ideacreamanuelaPps

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