Laying down our lives for a friend—what does that mean? This passage can conjure up images of jumping in front of cars to save someone else or throwing ourselves in front of bullets intended for others. I don’t think these were the images Jesus intended when He called us to love.
Perhaps laying down our lives for a friend means listening, really listening, even when it is not convenient.
Perhaps it means helping someone who does not give us kudos when we do it. Maybe it means turning off a ball game to have a tea party with a child. Perhaps it means forgoing our favorite chili-burger to stay healthier for our spouse’s sake and future.
It is much easier to muster a moment of nobility (as in throwing oneself in front of a bullet) than it is to lay down our lives for one another every day in small ways. We can only die for a friend once. But we can lay down our lives for a friend every day.