Well hey, sisters! This week's reading really couldn't have come at a better time. In fact, I am actually glad that I didn't get a chance to post last week as this is so fitting for what has gone on in Sydney this week.
This week, we're looking at John 13 where we learn about what happened on the night before Jesus's crucifixion - but whilst there are so many things that happen in this chapter (which I really encourage you to read through as a whole), there is one command Jesus gives that I want to focus on.
Love one another.
Jesus says to His disciples, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another".
Jesus says that everyone will know that we are His through our love for others.
But this isn't the only place we read that. We are told time and time and time again that we need to love EVERYONE - not just our friends and family, not just those who help us or those who we admire or even those who love us in return - everyone.
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God" 1 John 4:7
"We know that we have passed from death to life, because we each other" 1 John 3:14
"By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother" 1 John 3:10
"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love" 1 John 4:8
"Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble" 1 John 2:9-10
Jesus tells us that our love of others will give others evidence that;
- We are born of God
- We know God
- We are a child of God
- We live in the light and not the darkness
But how do we really love people all of the time? Is it possible?
People can be irritating, there's no doubting that - even our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ can be difficult to love. Sometimes it's hard enough to love even our own family.
How do we achieve what Jesus has asked of us?
Loving people is difficult, however, it is what the Bible commands. "For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another" (1 John 3:11).
I think what made the biggest difference for me when it comes to loving others was when I really thought about what it meant to love others the way that God loves us.
Think of it this way: God loved us not because we had something to offer him, but rather because He had something to offer us. God loved us so that He could demonstrate His mercy to us through Jesus.
Love is both an action and a feeling. When we love others, it's a doing thing - a verb. We can love others without loving them in the romantic sense. Biblical love is an active interest in the well-being of others. Love that acts for the benefit of others.
But we can't do it alone.
God is waiting, ready to forgive us for our lack of love. He wants to show His mercy towards us, to cleanse our loveless hearts and fill it with His loving Holy Spirit. By placing our trust in Christ, we allow Him to teach us to love the way that He loves us.