Loving Like a Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd story (John 10:1-18) and our second reading for this Sunday (1 John 3:16-24) are love stories. They are stories that speak of a pervasive love that comes from God through the metaphoric images of sheep and shepherds. These stories feel good to read, they comfort us as do the words of the 23rd Psalm.
Soren Kierkegaard wrote in his book Works of Love, “But what, then, is love? Love is to presuppose love; to have love is to presuppose love in others; to be loving is to presuppose that others are loving.”
Jesus says the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. In the story from 1 John we are told that “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.” Now I know we are to love with a sacrificial heart, but for me to lay down my life for just anyone… would be a stretch for my faith.
Perhaps Kierkegaard here speaks wisdom and that laying down one’s life is likened to laying down our preconceived notions about others. That to have love is to presuppose love in others and to be loving is to presuppose that others are loving. Is this how we know love; to presuppose love instead of having preconceptions otherwise?

Sometimes we only see others in the black and white when perhaps we should try to see the color that truly exists within them.  When have you laid down your preconceived black and white notions about others and instead seen the color of love in them, and then found love in yourself?

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