It is written, “By this all people will know you, by the church you attend, the pastors you follow, the music you prefer, the way you pray, the person you vote for, the party you are affiliated with, the things that you protest, the sins you don’t commit, the things you abstain from, and the companies you boycott.”
Actually, it is written,
“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.” John 13:35
I’m observing how events are unfolding. And, the truth is His disciples are missing the mark.
I’m afraid that so much of what we do in the name of love has nothing to do with love.
We say we are speaking the truth “in love”. But, it’s done in anger and righteous indignation. Tongue (or fingers) unbridled, speaking the truth actually serves as an opportunity for me to tell you how I really feel, saying it is “in love” makes it more palatable to me. That isn’t love.
We don’t speak the truth, we stay silent because we say we “love” someone. In actuality we are simply afraid to rock the boat, and want others’ approval. We have determined that it easier and satisfying to stay angry, be bitter and plaster a smile (or do vague posts on social media). That isn’t love either.
Neither is it ignoring, or justifying, or self-serving, or blaming, or proving that we are right.
And, I am guilty. Guilty of placing parameters on who is worthy of being shown love. Guilty of determining how it is shown. If you think like me, act like me, agree with me, then I “love” you. That’s not love.
Love costs something.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16
I was struck by a quote I recently read in Ann Voskamp’s new book, The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life (you must get this), “Sacrifice isn’t so much about losing what you love, but giving your love on to whom you love more. When you sacrifice for what you love, you gain more of what you love.”
Love isn’t conditional.
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ” (Romans 5:8).
Love does not wait for people to embrace my opinions or fulfill my desires. It is often demonstrated in humility and a sacrificial posture.
“Love is not always agreement with someone, but it is always a sacrifice for someone.”*
Love blesses the giver as it does the receiver
“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
“Love is a risk – that’s never a risk….love is always worth the risk because the reward of loving is in the joy of loving itself.”*
As we move forward, I suspect there will be ample opportunities to demonstrate love towards one another. Ways to sacrifice, give and love unconditionally.
Opportunities to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19)
Opportunities to “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (Romans 12:3)
Opportunities to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
Opportunities to “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4)
I leave you with this…
“This is my commandment,
that you love one another as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this,
that someone lay down his life for his friends.
*quotes from The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life by Ann Voskamp.