On Jesus’ Love For Us

I was feeling a little out of touch with the Big Man, so I threw up a prayer.. “God, please remind me of your great love for me and us all.” Well, just a few moments later my thoughts started drifting..

I thought about a situation where someone had a bad heart and was going to die without a heart transplant. I had to ask myself.. if someone I loved needed a heart, would I give them mine? I would surely give my child my heart, my life, right? I would surely give my life for my family or close friends, right?

What a tough situation. I was dwelling on it and really thinking, would I give my life for a loved one?

I think so. I hope so. I pray that if I ever am in that situation, I would have the strength, courage, and love to do that.

(Tangent paragraph alert!) It would be crazy, I would literally be giving away my life for another. For most atheists or agnostics that would probably be seen as a “waste.” They’d probably say that sure, do what you want, but you don’t have an obligation to be hero or anything. The thing about Jesus and Christianity is that, like a good parent or friend, Jesus challenges us to be the best that we can possibly be, no matter what the sacrifice might be. The ultimate good isn’t pleasure or personal gain but true love.

But what about a situation where I was in the position to offer my heart for someone that I had never known, or even to someone who was mean to me? Would I do it then? Would you do it then?

All of a sudden it clicked. I realized the connection: Jesus is like our “heart donor.” Jesus Christ, God, gave His life for us while we were sinners. While we had wronged Him. While we had turned from Him. Despite all of this, His love for us prevailed.

“But God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” -Rom 5:8

I don’t know if I would be strong enough to give my life for someone who hurt me in the same way that we all hurt Jesus. But He did it anyways. Talk about love. Talk about courage. Talk about strength. Now that’s a hero.

Imagine that you were the recipient of someone you don’t know’s heart. They gave their life for you. Wouldn’t you live life with purpose?! Wouldn’t you want to honor your hero and savior in everything that you do?! Wouldn’t you want to find out more about him or her?!

This all was going through my head, the Spirit sure was working. And wow, to think that I wouldn’t have the life that I have without that perfect sacrifice. To think that I owe everything that I am to Christ. That’s motivation. Jesus is our “heart donor,” the one who gave His life so that we could live.

“I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” -John 10:11

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67 thoughts on “On Jesus’ Love For Us

    • I think there’s just a miscommunication of terms; this is probably because Chris knows that most of his audience has a similar theological background as him and will thus understand the implications and motivations behind his statements.

      That said, I would agree that it is not fair to say that “most atheists” would see giving up their life as a waste. I’m sure there are many selfless atheists out there.

      I think what Chris was getting at is that the idea of a materialist atheism offers no motivation for ultimate self-sacrifice for the benefit of another. If all of us are simply random molecules and cells that happen to form electricity that gives a sense of cognition, then sacrifice has no meaning. The only thing that happens with sacrifice is that one person’s sensation is improved and another’s is reduced in quality or eradicated.

      If there’s no larger purpose in life, then one is simply left with the laws of thermodynamics. Objectively, what does it matter if a person dies for another? The universe will continue to exist either way. In such a worldview, there is no distinction between animal predation and the man who shielded his girlfriend from bullets in the movie theater and died. One life persists, the other life ends.

      Of course I do not think that all, or even many, atheists think this way. This is simply the logical breakdown of materialism (that all we can know and the only things that exist are what we can experience from matter). The reason that an atheist would reject the view I have described above is simply that materialism isn’t true. Our experiences gives us example after example that completely goes against what materialsim would say. And so one is faced with the choice; do I obstinately hold onto this idea of materialism against my contrasting experience, or do I realize that there is a certain sense of impracticality that comes with embracing a worldview that leaves me with no answers?

      • I’m not talking about materialism. I would go as far to say that the good majority of atheists are not materialistic.

        And I understand that the audience of this blog is heavily catholic. However that does not excuse the spread of untrue and degrading words about atheists and agnostics.

      • Hmm well I apologize for offending you and anyone else. Kendall summed everything up very nicely, thank you Kendall!

        Could you please explain your thoughts on selfless acts from an atheistic/agnostic point of view? (I’m assuming that those are your beliefs) I have definitely been dramatic, but only for the purpose of showing what the ends of those beliefs seem to be.

      • Easy. Because selfless acts are, generally, the right thing to do. Simple as that.

        If someone is suffering, and you can end it, then you do it. Not because some deity says you should. Not out of fear of punishment in the afterlife. Not because you’re in the mood to help someone at the moment. Because it’s the right thing to do.

      • I agree 🙂 God only has these rules because they’re right. And they make sense.

        So to take the next step, would you agree that someone OUGHT to do selfless acts, because they are the right things to do?

      • It’s never acceptable to not do the right thing. but I wasn’t talking about doing the right thing. I was talking about being selfless.

      • Gotcha. Well I think that we agree a lot on this subject. I’d like to get you to think a little of why you believe so strongly that people ought to do the right thing and should try to be as selfless as they can.

        It seems like this is some sort of humanist philosophy, which is definitely more respectable than the materialist philosophy that I was bashing earlier.

        If you don’t mind me asking, I’d like to go deeper in this conversation (inception anyone?)
        We agree that being good is good, but WHY? WHY is it good? What makes good good? Is it because you or I personally think so, or is it because goodness is an inherent THING. Is goodness a truth that transcends what we think, just like the score of a football game (I’m a Bears fan, if only it worked differently..)? If there are transcendent truths, why do they exist? Why do they matter?

  1. It sounds like you’re trying to bring up the question of moral relativism again, which we have already discussed on your blog post about relativism, and, i might point out, you never responded to my last point.

    • Oh what do you know you’re the same anonymous! Well you claimed that murder was acceptable, even given crazy circumstances. And honestly if you really believe that then there was’t much else that I could say. But you seem to have changed your mind in this discussion haha

      • I have not changed my mind. I maintain that in that circumstance, murder was RIGHT, because murder meant that only the elderly and sick died, instead of the elderly and sick and everybody else. In this case, murdering some is saving the lives of the rest of the tribe, and is therefore the morally right action. it is the action that results in the least amount of death and suffering.

      • You realize that you just used the materialist argument, right?

        What makes the elderly and sick less valuable than the others? What gives someone the right to kill another?

      • They’re not less valuable. I don’t know what you don’t get about this. Let’s break it down.

        don’t murder the elderly and sick: EVERYBODY DIES.
        murder the elderly and sick: only the elderly and sick die.

        You really think that the morally correct move is to kill everybody? the elderly and sick die anyway. their value is irrelevant.

      • I’m not a moral philosopher or theologian, I just try to explain the basics to the best of my ability.

        We are both searching for the correct solution. We both don’t want to kill any more people than we have to, right? And do, you’ve limited yourself to two options. What if there’s another way? Ultimately the worst thing would be to kill someone else. Maybe there’s a reason behind it, but it’s still deliberately killing someone against their will. What about someone taking their own life then for the sake of their loved ones? It’s not preferable either. I don’t think that we’re talking about cannibalism, right? That’s also not preferable. Is there anything that IS preferable? Maybe just doing what you can to save everyone. Maybe the whole tribe or whatever dies. But at least you didn’t kill “grandma” and then die anyways. There’s no way that killing anyone is worth it. If you die, you die. If you kill, you kill. Maybe you disagree still. My point is that there’s a difference between purposely doing something bad and something bad accidentally happening. I believe that the Catholic Church teaches that the ends do not justify the means, and that’s what I’m trying to say here.

  2. Well that’s your opinion then. I, personally, believe in a morality where unnecessary deaths, all other things equal, are morally wrong.

    • Please forgive me for this but I can’t resist:
      ..and thus the “Catholic Bigot” all of a sudden cares more for the little guy than the secular liberal. 😉

      This is why moral absolutism is the most freeing, liberating, and just morality.

      • Your idea: kill off a few personally for the chance to survive longer

        My idea: try to keep everyone alive as long as possible to survive longer

        Who’s killing again?

    • You: “Selfless acts are, generally, the right thing to do.”
      Me: “Why are selfless acts the right thing to do?”
      You: “In general, they prevent suffering.”

      Maybe not you personally, maybe I should have said “one’s own” suffering. But we are clearly talking about selfless acts; they wouldn’t be selfless if there was no self-sacrifice, i.e., suffering on one’s own behalf for another.

      • selfless: Concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own; unselfish. nothing to do with suffering. if I buy a homeless man a Mcdouble for a buck, is that selfless? sure. doesn’t satisfy and need or wish of mine. helps the other guy’s needs. am i suffering on his behalf? No.

      • That is not selfless act. “Concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own.” You didn’t have any needs to be concerned with in the first place. You didn’t need the dollar.

      • That’s probably one of the stupidest things i’ve ever read. I have a need to eat. that dollar buys food. thus, that dollar helps satisfy my needs.

      • OK, so you are saying that you would have spent that dollar on food for yourself, and that it was the only money you had to buy food; now you are going to go hungry for a meal?

      • I did not say that. but, on a small scale, the absence of that dollar does hinder my ability to buy food.

      • But hinder to what extent? Certainly not to any point where your need of food is not met? Or need of anything else for that matter?

  3. to a very small extent. but some extent nonetheless. It’s stupid to suggest there’s a definite monetary cutoff for what is selfless and what is not. The fact is, Donating is selfless, regardless of how much.

    • OK. We have established the understanding that I wished to reach, namely, that a selfless act denies yourself something (perhaps something small, but still denies something) so that another person can be granted something. Are we in agreement?

      Why is this the right thing to do?

      • I’m afraid I don’t understand the question. Or more specifically, why anybody would ever ask that question.

      • Why is it the right thing to give up something that you need or want so that another person can have what he needs or wants?

        We can address why someone would ask that later; for now, did I phrase the question more clearly? Do you get what I’m asking?

      • I understand what you’re literally asking; I just don’t feel like saying preventing or reducing suffering needs to be justified as being the “right” thing.

  4. I was just confused because you said that you didn’t want to say that reducing suffering needs to be justified, but previously you said that it is justified. I just want to be clear on your position.

      • Me: “Why is it right to suffer so that someone else doesn’t have to?”
        You: “It reduces suffering.”
        Me: “It doesn’t reduce my suffering, it increases it”

        Even if the other person’s suffering is decreased, mine is increased, so it seems that the overall suffering is not reduced, but just transferred from one person to another. It’s still selfless because I’m offering my suffering.

      • the overall suffering IS reduced. that’s what makes it right. let’s go back to the mcdonalds example. My suffering is increased by a very very small amount. The homeless man’s suffering is decreased by a significantly higher rate than mine is decreased. ergo, the overall suffering is reduced.

    • OK. So what about a situation where the increase in suffering on my part is the same or greater than the decrease in suffering of the other person? It is still right?

      • The answer to your question is obviously no. my entire point was that the action was right if it decreased suffering. so it follows that if it doesn’t decrease suffering, it’s not right.

      • That’s I what I expected, but I wanted to make sure.

        This is what Chris was trying to say in his post. This is why he said some atheists would find it odd for someone to give up his life for another or to suffer totally for another person. Your logic agrees with this.

        That’s all = ). Thanks for continuing the conversation this whole time. = )

      • Sure. But Catholics think it is right to suffer for the benefit of someone else, regardless of how much suffering on their part or benefit for the other.

        We believe that we are called firstly to love, and Jesus explains how to love most simply in John 15:13. That’s the difference between the utilitarian reduction of suffering that you believe in and the loving suffering that Christians believe in.

      • Well, no, that’s why there’s confession ; ). But we do try our best, at least those who take their faith seriously.

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