2 Chronicles 19-20 John 13:21-38
“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you. All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” (John 13:34-35 NCV)
Judas had left the building on his demonic mission to betray Jesus. Jesus took the time to teach the disciples the only test for orthodoxy that He left them, which was also the only way to survive the coming days. We’re called to love each other. We get caught up in the doctrinal discussions about how wet we get when we baptize, as well as how we get wet; we fight about what happens when we celebrate the Last Supper when we take the Lord’s Supper, er, Holy Communion, er, the Eucharist, er, did I miss a name for that? Jesus’s point here is clear. If we want others to know that we’re His followers, we’ll love His other followers no matter how “wrong” they are, and they’ll love us no matter how wrong we are.
Let me ask a stupid question: is there any Christian around who doesn’t know what Jesus said here? Is there any Christian who doesn’t understand that Jesus called us to love others who’ve made the commitment to follow Him? There are some people who claim to be Christians who spend their whole lives attacking other Christians for being wrong. Sometimes they form themselves into little enclaves to keep the world, and other Christians out because we’re wrong. And here’s where it gets theologically dicey: those folks claim to love Jesus, but they hate other brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus would say they weren’t His true followers, based on His verse. Does that give those of us who love all the other followers of Christ the ability to hate, or attack them? I think the answer for us becomes clear when we realize how much Jesus loved those who hated Him. My call is to love the errant brother or sister. My call is to show them what the love of God really looks like so that they can examine their own beliefs and turn from the way of hate and join in loving other followers of Jesus as we show the world the same love that Jesus showed them also. It’s a simple process: we love other believers. If we aren’t sure whether or not they’re believers in Christ we still love them because our ultimate call is to love people in the world just as God loved them anyway. If you’re not sure how to react in a given situation, especially when people do wrong to you, try loving them like Jesus did. You won’t ever go wrong doing that.
Lord, how easy it is to hate those who claim to follow You, but don’t do it right, in my eyes. How easy it is to hate those who are evil, forgetting that there, but for Your grace, go I. Help me to love as You love. Help me to love my errant brothers and sisters. Help me to love those who hate me because I follow You.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.