A New Commandment

John 13:34-35  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

I just love reading the words of Jesus.  There has never been and never will be a greater inspiration to us as Christians.  This verse from the book of John speaks volumes to me and I know it’s something we all struggle with.  “A new commandment I give to you.”  When I read this I know this is as important to Jesus as the initial ten commandments and should be treated as so.  “…that you love one another:  just as I have loved you…”

I don’t know about you, but I have to admit, I don’t love as well as Jesus did – not even close!  I’m sure most of us would say, Yeah, I love my family and friends.  But are we loving them as Jesus would?  That pure, never-ending, no matter what we’re facing love?  I’m convinced we all fall short in this new commandment.

First of all, we have to understand that love is an action.  It’s something you choose to do, whether you feel like it or not.  We can’t withhold the act of love because we are hurt, betrayed, or angry.  Jesus says to love each other the way he loved us.  He was nailed to a cross (hurt we will never experience), betrayed by his closest friends (a deep betrayal we will never know), and angry because even his own disciples needed constant proof of who he truly was.  Yet he never once withheld his love from any of these men.

Jesus goes farther to say that all will know we are his if we love one another.  I know that I would find great satisfaction in knowing people look at me and see that I belong to Jesus just by how I love.  This is not an easy task.  Not in the least!  Loving someone while in this human form can easily lead to selfish behavior.  It seems easy to justify not speaking to someone because you don’t agree with what they are doing in their life, or putting a wall up in a relationship because you don’t feel you’re receiving the love you so desire.

Isn’t this the opposite of Christian behavior?  We are told by Jesus himself, love one another.  He didn’t say, Love her as long as she loves you well or does what you want her to.  Love him if he remembers your anniversary.  Honestly, if someone’s behavior isn’t reflecting their Christian values, if they are wandering, not putting forth effort in relationships, this is something we are called to address.  See Galatians 6:1-2.  Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.  Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

In a spirit of gentleness.  Not anger, not frustration, not disappointment.  Let’s do something today that reflects who we are trying to be; disciples of Jesus Christ.  Let’s love someone today when we don’t feel like it.  Let’s bear one another’s burdens, as being a Christian isn’t solitary; it’s a team sport and we all are important pawns in the final outcome.

Think About It:

  1. Have you ever loved as Jesus has and given love when you didn’t want to?  How did that affect you and the other person?
  2. Think about someone in your life who you are struggling to love right now.  Do you think you can do anything differently?
  3. Love someone today.  When it hurts, when it’s awkward, when it makes no sense.  Love them anyway.  Come back and share your story!

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