Jesus said that there is no greater love than if someone will lay down their lives for a friend. And I think people agree. We make movies, read stories, have medals given, and many other ways in which we honor someone who gives up their life for another. We think of soldiers who will place themselves on a bomb, to save their fellow brothers. We think of people who step in front of a bullet, so that it will not pierce a loved one. We think of a stranger who will rush to push a child out of the way of a speeding car, and get hit instead. And to some degree, there are reasons for this selfless act. The soldier knows more may die, if not for his sacrifice. The loved one is so valued that the other would rather take the bullet, so they live. The stranger sees the preciousness of the little life that would end too soon, and doesn't even consider his/her own life. We think there is nothing greater someone can be willing to give up. But there is.
Can you imagine someone who would be willing to give up their eternal life? How about not just willing but even asking for such a fate - for the sake of others? This is no small thing, according to the Bible; hell is forever, never ending torment - pain - suffering - sadness - no presence of God - no end in sight - hopelessness. And yet in the Bible we read that on two different occasions, this request was made.
Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
Both Moses and Paul were willing to give up their eternal life for the sake of others. I imagine the reasons were much the same; if it meant more would have life - because of the value of the soul - because of the soul's preciousness. Even then, who of us would be willing? Maybe if it was our mom or dad - maybe? Or how about a child, our child - maybe? But Moses and Paul were not talking about children and parents. Moses had just given God's law to the Israelites, went to the mountain, and came back only to find these people in utter idolatry. Paul was being persecuted and wanted dead by those he speaks of.
If there is something that should humble us - it is how much less we care about the lost. One cannot give up their eternal life for another; but what kind of love could be contained in a human that they would be willing to? And if this love can exist inside a human (which it can - but only when we allow God's love to be our love), then why are we so unconcerned about the fate of those without Christ? Most of us live in the joy that we have this eternal life, which is in and of itself is not wrong; but when we focus on our comfort of security to the point that our heart does not break into millions of pieces because of the knowledge that others are perishing - and often the thought doesn't even cross our mind. Than what good are we?
If this love can exist inside a human (which again, it can if we allow God's love to be our love) than may we all seek to surrender ourselves fully to experience it. May God's love be our love.