Letting Jesus into our lives means more than adopting some new ideas and attitudes. It gives us a completely new way of living.
Jesus said that the two most important things in life are to love God with all our being, and to love our neighbours (everyone else) as ourselves.
If we have to choose between showing love for others, and what we most want for ourselves – we must choose love. If we have to choose between showing love and doing what seems fair and reasonable – we must choose love. If we have to choose between showing love and doing what everyone else thinks we should do – we must choose love. If we have to choose between love and retaliation against people who cheat or mistreat us – we must choose love. If we have to choose between showing love and keeping ourselves safe from harm or danger – we must choose love. And yet this is the best life, the happiest life, and the most wonderful life anyone can have.
Jesus loves us and forgives all that is past. This makes it possible for us in turn to fully love and forgive other people. And the great mystery of love is that the more we give, the more we receive back; the more we forgive, the sooner we break the chains of anger and resentment which can so hurt us; the more compassion we show, the more we feel the warmth and sheer humanity which comes from living in community with one another.
When we do experience suffering, Jesus can be our greatest source of strength. Jesus himself died on a cross; he knows everything about human suffering; he is with us in our grief, holding us tightly, and reminding us that this is not the end of the story.
Because the great truth of the Christian faith is that suffering and death lead, not to darkness and despair, but to resurrection and everlasting life. So we go through life with a tremendous sense of hope. Hope that, by following Jesus’ example, we can change the world for the better. And hope of a future eternal life, where everyone can find goodness, and kindness, and peace.