Can we really love as Jesus loved? Yes, but not as perfectly as Jesus did. will it be easy? No! But just because it won't be easy is no reason to stop trying. If we are to love like Jesus, we need to first look at how (and who) Jesus loved.
Jesus loved those that world didn't. He spent his time with those the world felt were unworthy. Jesus didn't come for the healthy, but for the sick--the sinners. If we are to love like Jesus, we need to make sure we are reaching out to those the world ignores--the unloved, unworthy, and neglected.
In order to reach out to these people we need to remember that we, too are sinners. Without Jesus, we are just as lost as they are. When we remember that, it should make it much easier to reach out to those around us that need Jesus. You know, if Jesus came today, I am pretty sure that we would be more likely to find in in a bar that in a church! Does that mean that we need to start barhopping for Jesus? Maybe! One thing I know for sure is that Jesus would never spend all of his time with those people that were "healthy," He would instead be seeking out those that needed His love and compassion. While I don't regularly hang out in the local tavern, maybe I should!
Jesus also loved practically. He healed the sick, encouraged the disheartened, and fed the hungry. If we are really loving as Jesus loved, we need to do the same. We are pretty good about helping people in times of crisis (think Haiti). But what about the widow down the street that needs help with her lawn or shoveling her sidewalk? We need to be aware of all that is happening around us and not go through life with blinders on. There are people all around us who need to see Jesus'love poured out through us.
The final group that we need to love as Jesus loved is the ones that are obviously guilty of sin. Think about the women caught in adultery. When she was brought before Jesus, He told the crowd that the one without sin should cast the first stone. The crowd left, no one was willing to make the claim that they were without sin. But Jesus WAS without sin and could have cast that stone, but instead he told the woman, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more." We need to realize that people who are caught in sin do not need us to cast stones, but to love them as Jesus loved them. This doesn't mean that we ignore the sin, but that we love the person so that they can receive the forgiveness that is available to them through Jesus.
Loving as Jesus loved is hard. But, loving as Jesus loved is the only way that we will ever be able to make a difference in our communities, our world, and even in our churches! Let us all resolve to do our best to not only live as Jesus lived, but to love as Jesus loved.