Loving One Another

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:34-35).”

Christianity is counter-cultural in many ways. When the world chooses the path of war, Christianity calls for peace. When popular opinion says resist, it takes the route of submission. When people say assert your rights, Christ commands, "Turn the other cheek."

Many shy away from this side of our faith, saying it only breeds weakness. At the same time, they accuse people who try to live out these tenets as vulnerable, helpless and even hopeless. "Why," they ask, "do you let other people trample on you?"

I say, they are missing the point of love. When Jesus called us to Himself, He also called us to imitate His humility. He who is everything made Himself nothing for our sake. In the same way, Jesus wants us to think not of ourselves or our own good, but to place Him first, others second and ourselves last in our hierarchy of concerns. This is love in action.

In fact, when we meditate on the original Greek word for love used in the verses above-- agape -- we will realize that Jesus demanded from His followers a kind of love that expects nothing in return. He is telling us, "Love one another unconditionally, giving your all to serve, help, encourage, train, teach, rebuke, and correct your brothers and sisters. This, afterall, is the example I gave you on the cross."

"Love one another..."-- so simple a command but extremely difficult to fully obey. How can we love the unlovable? Does this mean we always take the gracious and forgiving side, letting our abusive brothers and sisters to go on their ways?

We are called to bear with each other, to forgive and to love (Col. 3:13) and this goes out to every believer. In practice, however, the more mature ones tend to apply this first, and the younger in the faith follow suit after some time. And they do, more often than not, only after the more mature ones exercise loving rebuke and correction about the unloving actions of the brother or sister.

Love is not just about the good feeling or the grace or the forgiveness. At times, it calls for serious confrontation of sin but always within Biblical parameters with the brother's restoration-- not one's self-righteousness-- as prime motivation.

The challenge is for us to exercise grace and forgiveness while helping an erring brother realize his unloving actions or attitudes with the prayer that he'll take the highway of change.

This has never been easy because the pride in us automatically rears its head the moment it feels threatened. Without us noticing, we slip into selfish  argumentation. We claim to desire our brother's well-being when, in fact, our rebuke has become a struggle to prove our point and salvage our wounded pride. What a sad reality.

May we learn to truly love one another as Christ loved us. When we think of ourselves as nothing, we have no reason to protect our pride. Afterall, the humble attitude of Christ says, "I boast nothing about myself because I am but a worm... a slave... and my worth is only in my Savior, Jesus."

If this will be true to us, an inevitable revolution or revival even will sweep across our churches and fellowships. And the world will begin to see a marked difference in our circles, that we truly love one another.

If we open our mouths and say, "It is because Jesus loves us that we love one another," people will look at our Savior and realize His power to transform lives. And we never know, this can lead them to a saving relationship with Him.
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  1. Like all the fruit of the Spirit, Love is about our attitude, not just some actions we take. Good post.