Without a doubt, Jesus was the most approachable person who ever walked the Earth. He was tuned into the people on the fringes–those who were most likely to be outcast and excluded. Jesus was shockingly accessible to everyone, including people who were considered “undesirables”.
He certainly wasn’t like the other “holy men” of his time. In fact, His accessibility made them livid. That’s because the rabbis and priests of Jesus’s time operated on principles of isolation and exclusion, holding everyone at arm’s length. In contrast, Jesus welcomed everyone with open arms.
The Greek word for approachable is parresia, which means plainspoken, easy-to-understand, or accessible. Synonyms for this word include friendly and open. So if we want to love like Jesus, we have to learn how to become approachable. And one of the most important ingredients to approachability is becoming humble.
Lean into humility
To be humble is to make ourselves lowly. God meets us when we’re in a state of humility. It’s the antidote to pride, which poisons love. And it opens our eyes to the needs of others. Because when we can set our ego aside and stop believing ourselves to be superior to the people we encounter, we can become truly approachable.
Be inclusive and welcoming
A prideful, snobbish person believes that human worth is tied to social status. And unfortunately, we’re all susceptible to believing ourselves superior to others from time to time. It’s all about being exclusive, only allowing yourself to interact with people you deem “worthy.”
In contrast, a humble person gets down off their high horse and makes themselves lowly. Jesus was the exemplary example of humility and, as a result, inclusivity. He opened His arms to “undesirable” people who were reviled by the rest of society–and if He ever excluded anyone, it was the holier-than-thou religious elites.
Being humble helps us to realize we’re not above the people we encounter in our daily lives. This changes our perspective–and our actions–when it comes to being more inclusive and welcoming to others.
The religious elites were scandalized when Jesus associated with sinners, tax collectors, and even prostitutes like Mary Magdalene, who transformed her former life to become a disciple of Christ. As the son of God, Jesus could have arguably been the most qualified judge to walk the Earth. But instead of judging others, Jesus loved them regardless of what sins they’d committed or laws they’d broken. He was outrageously approachable because that was the essence of His love.
Love your enemies
Loving our enemies is loving without exclusion. It requires the ultimate humility.
It’s a given that, to love like Jesus did and be more approachable like He was, we have to snuff out pride and humble ourselves. However, Jesus takes it one radical step further: He commands us to love our enemies. And that, for (probably) most of us, is a hard pill to swallow.
“I tell you,” Jesus says, ‘love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you.”
Instead of getting even with our enemies, Jesus wants us to love them. He asks that we turn the other cheek when we’re hurt. And He even expects us to go above and beyond in our kindness to them. It’s not human nature, but it’s the nature of God. And with a generous dose of humility, it’s possible to show love to people who have caused us harm.
Want to know more about how you can love like Jesus?
How will you make yourself more approachable in the coming weeks? Months? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.