Before I say more, if you are not a follower of Jesus, this column is probably not for you. Feel free to skip over it and to wait for my next article on cultural issues or world events. But if you consider yourself to be a follower of Jesus, please read this carefully. In fact, stop for a moment and breathe a prayer as you read. Perhaps God will speak to you through the words that follow.
On the night that Jesus was betrayed, he said to his disciples, “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” (John 13:34-35).
What devastating, shattering words. The world will know that we are devoted followers of Jesus by the love we have for each other. And it is to be a love that emulates the love that Jesus had for us. How miserably have we failed here!
We are better known for sniping at each other, for gossiping about each other, for speaking harsh words and posting ugly comments and engaging in fleshly, immature behavior that is anything but loving. How can the world possibly recognize us as disciples of Jesus if we are not marked by a genuine, deep, Christ-like love? How can it recognize us as members of his own family if we do not bear that family likeness?
I am often so grieved to see how we treat each other on social media. We are so lacking in patience. We are so quick to condemn. We can be so condescending and snippy and cruel. Where is the love of God in any of this?
Even when we speak the truth, we often do it without love, as if exposing someone’s error was more important than restoring their soul, or as if proving ourselves right was more important than helping others find the light.
Throughout the New Testament, this call to love one another is repeated. Here is just the smallest sampling:
- Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart (1 Pet. 1:22).
- Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins (1 Pet. 4:8).
- Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling (1 John 2:9-10).
- We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (1 John 3:14-16)
- Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. . . . Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:7-8, 11).
Sometimes I feel ashamed at the way we behave towards each other, knowing the world is watching.
Every single day, numerous non-believers visit my various social media sites and web pages, and many of them read the comments section, often getting engaged themselves. Some of these people are atheists, some are religious Jews, some are devout Muslims, and some have no contact with the gospel outside of these web pages.
What impression do they have of the Body of Christ? What kind of love do they see? Does it cause them to say, “How these followers of Jesus love one another!”? Or does it cause them to shake their heads and wonder, “What makes these Christians so mean-spirited and angry?”
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Source: Christian Post