Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
— Ephesians 5:1–2

Have you heard this story?

A new bride is making her first big dinner for her husband and tries her hand at her mother’s brisket recipe, cutting off the ends of the roast the way her mother always did. Hubby thinks the meat is delicious, but asks, “Why do you cut off the ends? That’s the best part!” She answers, “That’s the way my mother always made it.”

Still thinking about the question her husband asked, she calls her mom and asks, “Why do we cut off the ends of the brisket before we cook it?” Her mom answers, “That’s the way my mother always made it.”

The next week, they go to the old grandmother’s house, and she prepares the famous brisket recipe, again cutting off the ends. The young bride is sure she must be missing some vital information, so she asks her grandma why she cut off the ends. Grandma says, “That’s the only way it will fit in the pan!”

Do you ever think about the people that influence your life? Why do you do things the way that you do them? Who are you imitating? That is the real question.

Paul writes to the church in Ephesus, telling them to be imitators of God as we are his beloved children. He says that we are to walk in love, as Christ loved us, and gave himself up for us.

One way to imitate God is to love the way he loved, to love the way Christ loved. He loved us while we were still sinners, while we were still broken. Amazingly, that kind of love also has the power to lift us from our brokenness.

I think we could list people who we find hard to love because of their brokenness. Maybe it’s a rude relative or an obnoxious co-worker. Who is that person for you? My challenge for you today is to imitate Christ and to figure out a way to love them the way that Christ has loved you. Take time today to think about those people, to pray for them, and to ask God to help you to love them.