“This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:35 (The Message)
Ouch! Sometimes there are words from the Bible that I really have to wrestle with. It’s not that I wrestle with whether they are true or not but I struggle with how to really live it out. If this is how the world knows we love Jesus, what do they think when:
– We eat at a restaurant and scold our server if our tea glasses get empty.
– We turn a blind eye to the person in a stalled car in the middle of the road.
– We shy away from the needy and hurting people in our community.
– We condemn those who look, think, act, and vote differently than we do.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to the the gospel is not the government, atheists, or political correctness but unloving Christians. As followers of Christ, we should be the most loving and compassionate people on the planet.
Love is not something we should reserve only for those who are easy to love. We should love all people – the good, the bad and the ugly. We should love those the lovable, the unlovable and even our enemies. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).
What would our workplaces, communities, and social media feeds look like if we began carrying banners of love instead of signs of protest? Demonstrating love does not mean we should accept anything and everything and only tell people what they want to hear. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do for someone is speak truth into their lives. But speaking truth is never an excuse to be hateful or demeaning. Truth is most powerful and effective when it’s spoken in love (Ephesians 4:15).
We must choose to love—even when every part of us wants to take the path of judgment, indifference, or revenge—at home, school, work, and even on social media. It’s imperative because this is how they will know we love Jesus!