March 29, 2012
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." -- John 13: 34-35 (NLT)
Continuing on the journey to the cross, we see Jesus giving some final teachings to His disciples. The above verses reveal the new, 11 th commandment if you will. It is one that we often gloss over as Christians as if it is a given but how well do we truly match up to the standard Jesus is setting here?
I am not speaking about loving the lovable Christians! Love is always easiest to give to those who are easy to love. But we will be judged according to those that may not be so easy to love. The unifying principle behind our love cannot be in relation to ourselves but only in relation to Christ. Too often we think carnally like the world and we give love to those who we feel deserve it on some level; usually based upon how they act towards us. Can you imagine for a minute if Jesus used the same standard? For God so loved us that while we were still rebellious and unloving towards Him that He sent His one and only Son to die for us! That is the standard God is setting here for us.
Lastly, loving each other does not mean blind unity. It means that we help our brother and sister when we see they are struggling with sin or when they are following any form of false teaching. How can I claim to love someone and not warn them that they are driving off a cliff? We unfortunately have a milquetoast Christianity forming in these days that misapplies the "judge lest not ye be judged" verses, which actually deal with hypocrisy -- not judgment. Paul clearly teaches on this:
It isn't my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. -- 1Corinthians 5: 12 (NLT)
Now this does not mean that we develop a critical spirit and run around condemning people! It means that true love; the love Christ intended us to show the world includes caring for each other's spiritual well-being. It means as we learn so early in Scripture that we are our brother's keeper. Show the world your love today by caring one for another.