Did the title grab your attention? It’s one of those sayings that one hears (or says) every once in a while, from one who is pretending not to swear, or is trying to swear politely. Typically, they are trying to avoid some of the harsher four plus letter words we might normally hear when one is inclined to use a curse word or two. There are others like “Oh my God”, or “gosh darn” (fake job there!), or one that seems to be particularly attached to those of a Catholic upbringing—“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.”
I’ll focus on the title for these purposes, and in particular, I want to zero in on the love of Jesus. He spent His three short years of itinerant ministry modeling love; the kind of love God would have us live. In fact, in one of the best known statements of the Bible, we read:
Unpack the above verses. What do those verses speak to you?
I love what Matthew Henry spoke to this passage in his commentary of old;
All that follows are a series of questions to provoke thought from the reader. This post, and the material you see was used for a Men’s mid-week small group recently, and the discussion that arose out of it was both robust and encouraging. Feel free to use it for your small group or community group.
What do you think of when you think of selfless acts of love? What are they, or what might they be like?
Because we flawed humans often have just a bit of trouble with the humility thing (did I say just a bit?), I followed that with the following citations before getting into the real meat of the evening’s discussion;
Elliott, in his Commentary for English readers, had this to say about the secrecy spoken of in Matthew. Both the citation and the comment are important for this discussion for the reason raised in the questions that yet follow;
(3) Let not thy left hand know.—The phrase was probably proverbial, and indicates, in the form of free hyperbole, extremest secrecy. It is possible that there may be some reference to the practice of using the right hand in offering gifts at the altar. The symbolical application, though an afterthought, is yet suggestive. The “right hand” is the higher spiritual element in us that leads to acts of true charity, the “left” is the baser, self-seeking nature. We ought, as it were, to set a barrier between the two, as far as possible, i.e., to exclude that mingling of motives, which is at least the beginning of evil.
Share one example where you have recently seen either someone you know or don’t know extend an act of selfless love toward another person. It doesn’t have to be “the big bang”—it can be a small and insignificant or obscure act, yet you sense that it had impact on the recipient. Share your reaction when you saw it and what it spoke to you.
Have you ever come away from a situation where you had sensed an opportunity to give a selfless act of love to another, but you blew it by not doing so? Share your reaction as you realized that and how that spoke to you?
Share a time when you were the giver of a selfless act of love toward another?
We’ve spoken of obvious acts of selfless love—the things that can be seen by others, even if, and hopefully if, they were not done to be seen, but done spontaneously as a legitimate reaction out of love for others due to the particular timing and circumstances of the moment.
Does that kind of love carry over to your thoughts of others (as in your thought life)? In other words, might you catch yourself (in your mind) thin-slicing another, comparing, maybe judging, perhaps forming an opinion (right or wrong) about that other person before you weigh how you will interact with that person? How does that align with the verses from Matthew?
Oops, that discussion sort of knocks the title expression out of the box as an appropriate exclamation when we typically hear it’s use doesn’t it? Even “Awww, for the love of Jesus, live the love of Jesus” could sound terribly askew, right?