“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35
It’s sad to have to admit, but Christians really can be incredibly unkind towards others – both inside and outside the church. We are often far too quick to point out the faults of others. We spread gossip and let jealousy get the best of us. It is not a pretty picture, and yet Jesus says that when we love one another, the world will know that we belong to Him.
So, how do we fix this? John Piper, a great Bible teacher, taught on these two verses and said, “Look. … This is a commandment. It’s not a suggestion. We are to love one another.”
You see, when you came to faith in Christ, you realized that your life was on the wrong path. And you turned and said, “Jesus is the right path.” You agreed to Him being the boss, so you said, “Thank you for saving me, but also thank You for being in charge of me now. I submit to Your commands.” So we are commanded (it’s not optional), that we as Christians love each other.
Jesus died for us and forgives us unconditionally — giving us chance after chance and grace after grace. And when we inevitably mess up, Jesus shows up, picks us up, and walks us through the mess. Why can’t we love each other like that? Why can’t we love others who are still struggling in their own sinful, mistake ridden lives? Jesus loved us while we were still sinners … are we doing likewise?
Is there somebody you need to forgive? Somebody you struggle to love? Get it right, so that those outside the church will recognize what it means to be a Christian: loving others they way Jesus first loved us.