Jesus said that the world would know us by our love for one another. (John 13:35) Is this true of the church today? Does the world look at the church and say, “Wow! They really love each other”? Because if not, we have some changes to make. Loving each other is not simply a nice idea or a suggestion. Jesus called it the greatest commandment along with loving God with all our hearts. It’s a big deal to love one another. After all, as sons and daughters of God, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and it is only natural for our Father to long for us to get along as family should.
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Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. – 1 John 4:7-8 (emphasis added)
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. – 1 John 4:11-12 (emphasis added)
God longs for us to treat one another like family…
When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus responded with two. Love God and love others as you love yourself. Think about the Ten Commandments for a moment. Every single commandment falls under one of these two commands of Jesus. If we are truly loving God and loving others, we will naturally honor all Ten Commandments. But what I find most interesting about the Laws of the Old Testament as well as the commands of Christ, is their emphasis on loving each other. In fact, more of the Ten Commandments focus on our relationships with others versus our relationship with God.
For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. – Romans 8:29 (NLT, emphasis added)
As Christians, we focus a lot of our attention on the fact that we are now sons and daughters of God. But how much time do we spend discussing the fact that we just inherited a whole lot of siblings? We are brothers and sisters in Christ. All of us. Even those of us who attend different churches and are a part of different denominations. All those who bow the knee to Jesus and make Him Lord of their life will one day be in eternity. Together. Forever. And the non-salvation issues we chose to fight about here on earth will be a distant memory.
God’s love works through us…
We are the hands and feet of God. In other words, God often works in this world through people. He asks us to be the ones to share the Good News with the world, and He expects us to take care of the poor and needy. Essentially, when we love others, we are allowing God’s love to work through us. We demonstrate the love of our Father when we choose to love one another.
So what about the “unloveable”? What about the ones that are sometimes difficult to love? How much more should we choose to show them love? After all, you were lost once. You were an enemy of God lost in your sin. And He demonstrated His love for you by sending His Son to die on the cross. Jesus laid down His life for you even when you were “unloveable.”
Not only are we called to love one another, I truly believe that God gives us the strength to love as He loves us. His love pours into our lives so that we can pour that love into the lives of the people around us.
Do you ever struggle to show love to difficult people? Have you asked God to give you the love and strength you need?
The world will know us by our love for one another because we are loving in a way that is only possible when God’s love lives within us.
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*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
**Photo by Ben White at ChristianPics.co