Guest Author - LeeAnn Bonds
The New Testament is filled like a honeycomb with sweet, life-giving instruction on how we followers of Christ are to treat one another. By far the most repeated command is that we should love one another. The Apostles John, Paul, and Peter all emphasize how important this is.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus speaks to the disciples after the last supper. They’ve eaten together, Jesus has washed the servants’ feet, and Judas has gone out to betray his friend Jesus. Jesus gives the disciples some last instructions, including these words:
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another," John 13:34-35.
Twice more in the same conversation He commands them to love one another, in John 15:12 and 17. They are to love each other as He loved them, so that everyone will know they are His disciples. This of course applies to us, too. Our sweet Savior, so patient with us, commands us to love each other selflessly, sacrificially, so that the world will know that we are His disciples.
Paul takes up the theme in his letter to the church in Rome: Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8. He phrases it as an obligation…something we owe to each other (and he exhorts us not to otherwise be in debt). He also reminds us that loving one another fulfills the law, as Jesus taught.
Here are Paul’s exhortations on the subject to the church at Thessalonica:
1 Thessalonians 3:12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another …
1 Thessalonians 4:9 …for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another….
Peter, that fervent guy, says it this way:
1 Peter 1:22…love one another fervently with a pure heart…
1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."
And John repeats and sums it up thus:
1 John 3:11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another…
1 John 3:23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another….
1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:12…If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.
2 John 1:5 And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.
Sisters, if we all took this command to heart, and did our best to live it out in every situation each day, beginning in our own homes, our world would be transformed.