This weekís memory verse is one of my favorites. I love to quote it.
ďA new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.Ē John 13:34 ESV
Love each other: Jesus commands it. It should be an easy thingóto loveóyet it is a challenge. We live in a difficult, fallen world. I think, ďIíve got this.Ē I have a great group of Christian friends. I love them all. On reflection, the people I spend time with are, for the most part, easy to love. Those who arenít so lovable, I tend to stay away from. So easy to avoid conflict.
In the Bible, love isnít so much a noun as a verb. It requires action. 1 John 3:18 tells us we canít merely say we love someone, we must show it by our actions.
Avoiding the unlovable, isnít loving them. Itís loving myself. It costs me no effort. I donít have to be understanding. I donít have to be quick to listen, slow to speak. (James 1:19) I donít have to be encouraging, when my first thought is to scoff. When there are no disagreements, I never have to be humble or give up my need to be seen as right.
Jesus sought out sinners. He didnít avoid me, he sought me out, even before I wanted to know him. (John 6:44, John 6:65) Iím sure his life would have been easier if he didnít have to put up with my problems.
1 Peter 4:8 says love covers a multitude of sins. It seems I was thinking of this backwards. I canít expect love to magically cover someoneís sin. It required Jesus' action. It requires my action. When my sister or brother sins, and I see it, I am to exercise love to cover it. Think about gossip. Gossiping and listening to gossip uncovers someoneís problem. God, in his grace, covered my sin. Do I have the right to talk about or uncover the sin of another?
Love is a sacrificial act.
What actions will I take to fulfill this command? Jesus gave his life, in his love for me. What sacrifice will I gladly make to love my sisters and brothers?
1 Peter 1:22 says we are to love one another earnestly from a pure heart. Love is to be sincere and earnestóno ulterior motives. Not grudginglyóto save my own soul.
Love, exercised as God intended, binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:14)