Me: Hi, Jesus. I was wondering what part of your nature and character you want me to focus on right now.
Me: Maybe you forgot—I already know that one.
Jesus: So you’ve learned to love?
Me: Yep. It’s what I do.
Jesus: Have you learned to love those who don’t like you?
Me: Um, sure. Y’know, in a general sense.
Jesus: Then let me be more specific. Have you learned to love those who refuse to listen to anything you say, condemn you without discussion, and even think your beliefs make you unworthy of life?
Me: Well, kind of. From a social distance.
Jesus: Mmhm. Have you learned to give love away without condition to those who have lied about you? To those who have rejected, betrayed, and hurt you deeply?
Me: Uh . . .
Jesus: Back at it, Champ.
Me: This is really hard sometimes.
Jesus: I know. That’s why you have to love yourself first.
Me: I know. Wait, no I don’t.
Jesus: You have to receive my love for you until it’s greater than any wound from the past, any fear of rejection in the future, and any prideful need to prove yourself right against those who disagree with you.
Me: But how do I really do that?
Jesus: Let go of everything that doesn’t look like my love. I’ll do the rest. I will give you a constant download of love, grace, joy, and peace. You’re not supposed to keep emptying yourself for others until there’s nothing left. I already did that. You get to have my love as a constant river, and then direct the overflow wherever you go.
Jesus: I know.
Me: So . . . love?