Love Like That by Dr. Les Parrott Summary

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Love Like That by Les Parrott Cover

Love Like That by Dr. Les Parrott
5 Relationship Secrets from Jesus

My Thoughts

“You won’t find guilt or shame in this book. Instead, you’ll find encouragement and practicality as we continue our quest to travel the most excellent way.” This quote from the introduction explains the aim of the book well. Love Like That is a fantastic book with practical tips and thought-provoking questions on loving like Jesus.

Resources

My Favorite Quotes

  • Truth without love is ugly, and love without truth is spineless.
  • If you want to love like Jesus, you can’t limit your love to people who deserve it.
  • Here’s the hard truth: loving like Jesus is not efficient. It takes time away from our own agenda-driven pace.
  • Jesus says that if we are to be truly approachable and not exclusive we must do something outrageous. He says we must love our enemies.
  • “They that know God will be humble; they that know themselves cannot be proud.” -John Flavel
  • Pluralistic ignorance persists until someone is bold enough to speak out.
  • Authenticity is all about being rather than doing. Your doing flows naturally from your being.
  • Don’t get caught up in measuring your progress against others. Instead, get immersed in knowing how to fall in step with the Spirit.

Key Questions

  • Can anyone really love like Jesus?
  • How did Jesus see what others didn’t?
  • What keeps us from being mindful?
  • Do you want to have a reputation for include those who aren’t typically included?
  • How would you rate your current capacity to set your pride aside to be more approachable?
  • Are you being intentional about not sizing others up by their outward appearance so you can have a welcoming spirit that makes them feel included?
  • I wonder what’s going on with that person that I don’t know about?
  • How is this person doing?
  • Are you wiling to put yourself second in order to put another person first?
  • Who in your life is toughest to love? Can you love this person like Jesus loves them?

Introduction

Loving like Jesus is the best way to live. When we love like Jesus, we are lifted outside ourselves.

Can anyone really love like Jesus?

Divine love defies explanation.

Dr. Parrott believes we can all become better at loving like Jesus. Because this type of love is real and Jesus gives us practical examples of how to love in extraordinary ways.

The teaching and example of Jesus reveal at least five distinct qualities of his love.

When you love like Jesus,

  1. You become more mindful – less detached.
  2. You become more approachable – less exclusive.
  3. You become more grace-full – less judgmental.
  4. You become more bold – less fearful.
  5. You become more self-giving – less self-absorbed.

You won’t find guilt or shame in this book. Instead you’ll find encouragement and practicality as we continue our quest to travel the most excellent way.

Chapter 1: Mindful

Humans are astonishingly prone to missing what should be abundantly obvious. The Invisible Gorilla Test is cited as a well-known example.

The Mindfulness of Jesus

Jesus “saw” what others didn’t. When he saw, he was almost always moved with compassion.

Nobody else saw Zacchaeus the way Jesus did. Why? Because Jesus sees what the crowd did not. The life of Jesus is filled with these perceptive incidents.

How did Jesus see what others didn’t? It comes down to being mindful.

Being mindful means giving others special attention.

What Keeps Us from Being Mindful?

The author’s one-word answer is: agendas. Everyone has an agenda. Save money, save time, read a book, etc, the list goes on and on. Every moment of every day we have an agenda.

We have the ability at any time to press the pause button on what we want, on our agendas. That is the moment we see other people who have their own agendas. That’s the moment we become mindful. That’s the moment we make room for love.

Here’s the hard truth: loving like Jesus is not efficient. It takes time away from our own agenda-driven pace.

How Mindful Are You?

The author has created an online Love Like That Self-Test that you can take and receive a summary of your progress. I highly recommend taking this test. It includes a lot of good questions that make you think about how you are treating and loving others around you.

The story Jesus told about the good Samaritan is teaching us about being mindful. You may need to set aside your personal agenda if you are to be loving.

You’ve got to relax the tension around your busy agenda to make room for the subtle and intuitive promptings of God’s Spirit. The still small voice.

How do we do this? The answer is simple and is found in the Scripture: “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Try this. While your mind is consumed with the clutter of your ever-changing agenda, ask God for wisdom.

Chapter 2: Approachable

Humans are highly-sensitive to feeling ignored. We’re born with an insatiable inner need to be included.

We long to belong. Jesus understood this deep and powerful need like nobody else.

The Approach-ability of Jesus

Jesus was shockingly accessible to anyone who felt undesirable or unwanted.

In the case of Simon, Jesus readily accepted his dinner invitation, knowing it wouldn’t be pleasant.

For Jesus, relationships superseded rules. Jesus went out of his way to be approachable to everyone.

Being approachable means accessible and easy to understand. Perhaps the best way of defining approachable is with a smile.

Jesus’ love was for anyone, regardless of what laws they’d broken or sins they’d committed. Jesus was scandalously approachable because it was the very essence of his love.

What Keeps Us from Being Approachable?

The single biggest barrier to being more approachable is pride.

Pride is all about being exclusive, not inclusive.

The antidote to pride is, of course, humility.

God meets us in places where we are humble. That’s where we become malleable.

“They that know God will be humble; they that know themselves cannot be proud.” -John Flavel

We all struggle to strike a balance between healthy pride and healthy humility. It becomes are surreptitious problem whenever we allow it to stand in the way of being approachable and inclusive.

How Approachable Are You?

As mentioned on the last chapter, there is an online Love Like That Self-Test that you can take to answer questions on this topic and receive a summary of your progress.

How to Be More Approachable

If you want to love like that, you can’t size a person up. You can’t first determine if they are deserving. If you want to love like Jesus, you can’t be exclusive.

Jesus says that if we are to be truly approachable and not exclusive we must do something outrageous. He says we must love our enemies. He says “I tell you, 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.”

Loving like this is not natural, it’s the very opposite of natural. That’s why Jesus says we can only love in this radical way when we love out of our “God-created selves.”

So how do we love out of our God-created selves? Here is what Jesus says: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.

When we love like that, like Jesus, feelings of superiority fade and our days are punctuated with spontaneous breaths of compassion, generosity of spirit, and kindness.

To Ponder

  • Do you want to have a reputation for include those who aren’t typically included?
  • How would you rate your current capacity to set your pride aside to be more approachable?
  • Are you being intentional about not sizing others up by their outward appearance so you can have a welcoming spirit that makes them feel included?

Chapter 3: Grace-Full

One of the fundamentals of effective counseling is unconditional positive regard. The idea is to convey an authentic sense of warmth and respect for the person regardless of what they are saying or what they’ve done. It separates behaviors from the person in order to offer an attitude of grace.

Grace is, by definition, unfair. It doesn’t make sense. That’s the point.

If you want to love like Jesus, you can’t limit your love to people who deserve it.

The Grace-Giving of Jesus

You can’t study the life of Jesus and avoid life-altering grace. He is the personification of grace. He acknowledges the ugliness of sin by chooses to see beyond it.

Grace runs rampant in the life of Jesus.

Nowhere did Jesus more clearly separate the sin from the sinner than in the last moments of his earthly life. Jesus said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

God is happy to give unconditional acceptance and unmerited grace to all who will receive it.

What Keeps Us from Being Grace-Givers

Most people think that they are forgiving and accepting of other people and think that others suffer from judgmental-ism.

A Cornell University study on the people’s competency levels was concluded by saying “Incompetent people don’t know they’re incompetent.”

Self-deception is a stepping stone to self-righteousness.

We all have a negativity bias and we often judge others without even thinking about it. Judgmental-ism will always be part of us. The answer is to be less judgmental.

Being judgmental keeps us from becoming better grace-givers. You can’t give grace while feeling self-righteous. Grace comes only from a humble heart.

How Grace-Full Are You?

There is an online Love Like That Self-Test that you can take to answer questions on this topic and receive a summary of your progress.

What Jesus Taught Us About Giving Grace

To love a person means to see them as God intended them to be. -Fyodor Dostoevsky

Hypocrisy and self-righteousness are nonstarters for Jesus. Quit nitpicking. Quit tearing down others to boost yourself up.

How to Be a Better Grace-Giver

Your love-ability is rooted deep in God’s unending love for you. You don’t have to work harder, look better, or win prizes of any kind. Chances are, you don’t feel unconditionally loved by God all the time.

We can’t give grace to others when we aren’t receiving it ourselves. When we’re busying trying to earn acceptance from God, we start to think everyone else should earn it too.

If you want to be a better grace giver, you’ve got to continually and consciously receive the grace God gives you. The more grace we receive, the more we love to give.

Here’s the truth: God’s grace is received, not achieved. Grace does not depend on what we have done for God but rather what God has done for us.

When we are conscious of God’s grace in our own lives, we are automatically more loving and accepting of others.

When you see someone you think is acting insane, stupid, or worse – you should ask this question: “I wonder what’s going on with that person that I don’t know about?” This curious question is all it takes to put a haughty spirit of self-righteous judgment on hold.

Chapter 4: Bold

The beginning of this chapter talks about what social scientists call pluralistic ignorance. It occurs whenever a group of people go along with something because they incorrectly assume every else understands or accepts it. It leads corporations to persist in failing strategies. It leads worshipers with good intentions to go along with unhealthy religious leadership.

Pluralistic ignorance persists until someone is bold enough to speak out.

The concept of pluralistic ignorance has been memorialized by Hans Christian Andersen in this fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

“There is nothing more frightening than active ignorance.”

Johan Wolfgang von Goethe

You can’t shy away from what is true; it requires boldness.

Jesus boldly shattered the pluralistic ignorance of his time. He was fearless when it came to being real, authentic, and truthful.

If you want to love like Jesus, you can’t shy away from what you know is right and true.

The Bold Truth-Telling of Jesus

One of the most startling qualities of Jesus is authenticity. Jesus said what needed to be said.

The group Jesus confronted the most was the Pharisees. He pointed out that they were focused more on impressing others than loving God. He clearly denounced this external showmanship. No one dared challenge the Pharisees until Jesus.

For Jesus, the proof of spiritual maturity is not external. Jesus abhorred hypocrisy.

Jesus is the ultimate truth-teller. Courageous. Confident. Bold. He is a model for living authentically and honestly.

What Keeps Us from Being Bold Truth-Tellers?

Each of us has a natural, built-in desire to be known, but we often stifle our vulnerability out of fear.

Fear of what? Fear of rejection. We’re afraid of being seen as too assertive or not assertive enough, too whatever or not whatever enough. The result of our fear is that we wear masks (see Mask of Masculinity for an entire book on the subject of wearing masks). We clam up when we really have something to say. Ultimately, we wear masks when we accept pluralistic ignorance.

If we wear our masks long enough, we may guard against rejection, but we’ll never be true. We’ll never be honest. We’ll never be bold. And that means we’ll never love like Jesus.

When what you do and what you say do not match the person you are on the inside, you develop an incongruent or fragmented self. You’re consumed with the impression you are making on others rather than being true to who you are. You’re asking “How am I doing?” instead of “How is this person doing?”

Being congruent – allowing your real self to match the self you’re presenting to others – liberates prideful pretensions and boldly reveals the true you.

How Bold Are You?

There is an online Love Like That Self-Test that you can take to answer questions on this topic and receive a summary of your progress.

What Jesus Taught Us About Boldly Speaking the Truth

As I read the Gospels, I ask myself the question time and again: What would I do?

I cringe at my own sheepish inclinations to take the easy way out in these situations where Jesus is so transparent.

When Jesus realizes Simon invited him to his house to embarrass him and reveal him as a heretic, Jesus calls him out right there and then. Would you do that?

Jesus places urgency on truth-telling. “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him – work it out between the two of you.” Jesus even prioritizes it over worship.

For Jesus, truth-telling is not something we do when we get around to it. He makes it a top priority. Jesus says we need to speak the truth but with love.

Truth without love is ugly, and love without truth is spineless.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs 27:6.

Jesus is all about authenticity. He wants us to take off our masks and live congruent lives without hidden agendas or empty promises.

Jesus lived in a way that was utterly transparent, straightforward, and direct, and he wants us to follow in this way.

How to Be a Better and Bolder Truth-Teller

Authenticity is the only way to be loved. That’s the irony. We fear that being known will lead to rejection. But it is only be being known that our hearts are truly loved.

“A ‘no’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘yes’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Each time we pass up an urge to be a truth-teller; we face a greater danger than being rejected. We risk a hardened heart that prevents the risk of love.

Authenticity separates being a loving person from merely wanted to be seen as a loving person. When you are real, your head and heart work in harmony.

Authenticity is all about being rather than doing. Your doing flows naturally from your being.

Here’s the hard truth: love is dangerous because love means risking rejection.

If you want to become a better and bolder truth-teller, a good place to start is with a little more vulnerability. Authenticity becomes real when we admit our frustrations, acknowledge our weaknesses, and disclose our insecurities.

Jesus spoke truth to save people from themselves. He spoke truth from love. When we separate love from truth-telling, we are trading genuineness for approval. When we risk rejection and get real, we begin to love more like Jesus.

Chapter 5: Self-Giving

Why would any rational human being want to ignore self-interest and give up pursuing the things they desire most?

You don’t sacrifice fulfillment by giving up your life – you find it. It’s exactly what Jesus said: when you lose your life in love, you find it.

Our greatest fulfillment lies in giving ourselves to others. Henri J. M. Nouwen

A study by Psychologist Bernard Rimland found that selfish people are far less likely to be happy than those whose efforts are devoted to making others happy.

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Jesus

The Self-Giving of Jesus

“You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.”

Henry Drummond

Recollecting a past event gives us a clearer imagination of how we will behave in the future. The things we remember change who we are and who we are becoming.

Power and recognition were on the minds of the disciples, and Jesus was demonstrating service and sacrifice. This is in reference to when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet before the last supper.

Jesus tells the disciples they must follow his example with each other. They must become like servants, setting aside concern for position and privilege. Jesus unforgettably shows that service, not status, is what he’s about: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.”

What Keeps Us from Being Self-Giving?

The greatest barrier to compassion is fear. The fear of not being first – of not getting what we need or what we want – pushes us to the front. It causes us to seek our own advantage and look past what might help others.

If we want to love like Jesus, we’ve got to get a lock on placing other people’s needs ahead of our own.

How Self-Giving Are You?

There is an online Love Like That Self-Test that you can take to answer questions on this topic and receive a summary of your progress.

What Jesus Taught Us About Being Self-Giving

When Jesus taught about “going the extra mile” he was saying that if you want to be self-giving, this is how you do it. You do what others don’t expect. By doing more than is required, you are automatically setting your self-interest aside. You are living unselfishly.

The extra mile, as Jesus taught, was about doing more for others than anyone would expect. It comes down to actively treating others the way we want to be treated. It’s how we leverage our natural self-interest to fuel love for others.

The golden rule is proactive. The golden rule is not passive, it goes beyond reciprocity. It requires proactive behavior – doing something that benefits others. It requires initiative. It requires empathy.

How to Be More Self-Giving

Put yourself in another’s shoes.

Empathy is risky. It will change you. Empathy is a process. It’s an art we learn over a lifetime.

What enables us to see beyond our own self-interest and really empathize is emptiness. The capacity we have to empty ourselves of our need for other people to do what we want. When we empty ourselves of this compulsive need to have our own way – when we lose our life, we find our life.

When we hold our desires loosely, a massive burden is released and a new happiness is found.

“To live happily is an inward power of the soul.”

Marcus Aurelius

When we surrender our selfishness, we are no longer limited to defining our happiness by merely getting what we want.

Small things, done with great love, most often characterize the actions of a person who has found the power of self-giving.

Are you wiling to put yourself second in order to put another person first?

Conclusion: How Is This Even Possible?

Who do you hate? Or…who has messed up the trajectory of your life? Why this question? Because Jesus said “If anyone boasts, ‘I Love God,’ and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see?”

Five concrete ways to helps us love more like Jesus:

  1. Be mindful – not indifferent – by seeing what others don’t.
  2. Be approachable – not exclusive – by moving out of your comfort zone.
  3. Be grace-full – not judgmental – by not limiting your love to people who deserve it.
  4. Be bold – not fearful – by speaking truthfully and risking rejection.
  5. Be self-giving – not self-serving – by emptying yourself for empathy.

Which of these behaviors comes easiest for you? Which is toughest?

Who in your life is toughest to love? Can you love this person like Jesus loves them?

Loving like Jesus is an internal quest. It’s not so much about doing as it is about being.

Jesus wants to do the loving through us. Our only task is to allow this to happen.

Christ’s followers embrace the promise: Christ lives in you. “You’ll be changed from the inside out.” When we invite Jesus to live in us, His Spirit can bring the best out of us.

Our good friends help us leverage our strengths and improve upon our weaknesses. That’s what Jesus says about our ultimate Friend, the Holy Spirit. At the very heart of our friendship circle is the Comforter and Counselor who is advocating for us to be better than the person we are tempted to settle for.

Scripture has a name for the Holy Spirit that aligns with each of the five ways to love like Jesus that Les has listed in this book:

  1. Be mindful – by leaning into the “Spirit of Knowledge.”
  2. Be approachable – by leaning into the “Spirit of Comfort.”
  3. Be grace-full – by leaning into the “Spirit of Grace.”
  4. Be bold – by leaning into the “Spirit of Might.”
  5. Be self-giving – by leaning into the “Spirit of God.”

The key to all of this is in the “leaning” – the conscious intention of inviting and receiving the Spirit in our lives, moment by moment.

We still need to step out in faith. We have to risk. We have to open up, reach out, repent, worship, fellowship, obey, and do all the other things a life of genuine faith entails.

How the Holy Spirit Works

When leaning into the Spirit becomes a habit, love begins to work on autopilot.

When you still your rational mind enough to make room for the Spirit, love re-calibrates our agendas and pushes pride aside to make room for love at the highest levels.

In the upside-down economy of loving like Jesus, it starts with seeking and knocking rather than striving and exerting.

Don’t get caught up in measuring your progress against others. Instead, get immersed in knowing how to fall in step with the Spirit.

In conclusion, to love like Jesus we must:

  1. Open our eyes (mindful)
  2. Open our arms (approachable)
  3. Open our hearts (grace-full)
  4. Open our mouths (bold)
  5. Open ourselves (self-giving)

Here is the bottom line: loving like Jesus isn’t achieved as much as it is received. When we believe in Jesus Christ and call upon him, the Holy Spirit moves in and produces Christ’s character within us in ways we can’t muster on our own.

Appendix: How to Make Loving Like That a Habit

This appendix is a practical guide for where to go next.

To make these qualities a lifestyle pattern of behavior, we cultivate a keystone habit.

“We are what we repeatedly do,” said Aristotle.

Don’t Forget Your Supernatural Friend

If you get a lock on the habit of falling in step with the Holy Spirit, you don’t have to make nearly as many decisions about being mindful, approachable, grace-full, bold, or self-giving. They will happen without much thought at all.

So how do we develop such a “love habit”? The answer is found in two time-tested methods: connect with the Spirit daily and get to know the Spirit’s voice.

Connecting Daily with the Spirit

We can’t cultivate a life-changing keystone habit overnight. It results from a daily intention, if only for a few minutes, of reflection and prayer.

If you want to hear the heart of God, moments of quiet are essential.

A quiet time becomes a dreaded discipline if you’re not doing it to become conscious of God’s voice. But once you see how your meditative moments help you hear the Spirit more clearly and more frequently, life changes.

Getting to Know the Spirit’s Voice

You’ve got to have a clear head if you want to hear a clear voice from God. That is, you’ve got to relax the tension around your overthinking to make room for your intuition.

The complexity of our rational mind is so often troubled with deadlines, worries, tasks, and drives and keeps us looking down. It prevents us from looking up to see the bigger story. The bigger story, and the story of all stories, is that God is God.

Related Book Summaries

Hope you enjoyed this and got value from my notes.
This is the 30th book read in my 2020 reading list.
Here is a list of my book summaries.

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