Yesterday, I received an emailed prayer request for some dear family friends who had been deeply hurt and verbally attacked—at church.
The news saddened me, angered me, and truth be told, sickened me a little.
John 13:35 is why. In these verses, Jesus is preparing to go to the cross. He has eaten one last Passover meal with his closest friends and tried to tell them what was going to happen, using the bread and wine as symbols of His broken body and spilled blood. He has served them all, Judas, His betrayer, too. At some point, Judas slips out and Jesus continues talking to the remaining disciples. Simply, He says:
I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
Over and over Jesus says those words throughout the Gospels. Love one another. Love your neighbor. Love.
He even condensed everything to two great commands: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.
Love. It isn’t a feeling. It’s a commitment. It’s choosing to put others first. It’s laying down your own needs and desires for others. It builds up and refuses to tear down. And if we love like Christ, we give up our own selves for the church.
For His church.
I don’t write all of that because I’ve got loving down-pat. I don’t. I find it easiest to love the people I like. The people who are like me. The people who don’t disappoint or hurt me, the ones who agree with me. But the church is made up of all kinds of people, and Jesus has instructed me to love them.
It’s a difficult command.
It’s so sad when the people who are supposed to be known by their love so often aren’t.
So let’s live out Jesus’ command today. May the world know more about Him because of the love they see in you.