“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.”
A fitting theme to remind us of the greatest command that Jesus gives to us all. The news is filled with envy and hatred, and all sorts of negativity towards one another. I’m sure that the pandemic has been a catapult for this behavior, but excuses will not bring our society back together if we provide reasoning for such behavior. Recently, across the United States, I have seen shootings and murder by our youth as young as 14 years old. Robberies and assaults are increasing in all of our communities. Our mayors and Governors are attempting to lay out all kinds of programs to stop the madness. In reality, what our communities need is Christ.
I pray that we could be reminded of the command in the book of John every day. We are reminded that there are different kinds of love, a love for our wife, versus the love that Jesus wants us to share; agape love.
Agape love is love poured out on other with nothing expected in return. This is a love that we share whether the person we give it to will accept and receive it, and may in turn be shunned. This is a difficult response for us to handle, as we would like to see an expression of thanks given back. We have to remember agape love; it may not return. It may cause you to think twice before attempting to share that kind of love again. God didn’t give us a choice on this one! He commands that we love one another.
I always remind couples who are being married of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” Not only is this an important message for marriages, but it is for all of our relationships.
Someone explained to me that they walked in to many churches and that kind of love appeared missing. We know and see church attendance declining today. This is disheartening! Could it be that we have forgotten this greatest commandment; to love one another?
When people come to your church, you have to remember that they are in many different places in their lives than you may be. People are looking for the Savior that can give them the healing they need for circumstances beyond their control. They come searching for help from other people that appear to know the direction; people of light!
When they step into a church, their expectation is to find that love that Jesus commands. My challenge to you is to take a close look of your own heart. My challenge to the church is to check out culture in your church and see if that love offering is poured out to those who walk through your doors. They are people hurting, people in despair, people who may be unlovable! It is our duty as disciples of Christ to point them to Christ though our love for all people, no matter where they are in life, no matter what their circumstances are, no matter what they look like!
Jesus shows us this love in so many ways through his word! Through it, I am reminded that even those who persecuted him and sent him to a crushing death, he forgave, he loved and he still loves! The criminal on the cross next to him was told, “I tell you the truth, you will be with me in paradise.”
Jesus loves you unconditionally, and has poured out his life in a love offering to you! All you have to do is accept him, and continue in a life of holiness. I ask all of you to search for a church to attend and begin a life of giving love to those around you. Remember, agape love, love that may not come back in return. We are reminded in John 15:9-13 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands you will remain in my love…I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Blessing to you all!