" “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” -John 15:12
So we are back again in another month to look at another Bible verse that will hopefully make you think a little more deeply into what God is really saying to us or teaching us. Today let’s look at John 15:12, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
Well that sounds easy enough doesn’t it. If we are being completely honest no it doesn’t. Let’s face it, sometimes our fellow believers aren’t easy to love. So what is Jesus saying to us? Let’s go back a little first. When anyone goes to church they go looking for something more than the worship hour. Some go for the songs, others the children or children’s programs. Some go because of the preacher, others because of the type of worship service. But in all these reasons there is something so common that all people go for. That is for friendship. Think about how many times you have said or even heard, ‘that is such a friendly church to visit’. When everything is said and done, deep down, all of us value friendship and community. We can’t deny it. God wired all of us with a need for friendship. Friendships are what makes the church members a family and what helps the church move forward.
So, now we are making friends, does that mean we will like everyone or get along with everyone? No, because there are some Christians you like, and there are some you have a hard time getting along with. You don’t care for their personalities, their preferences, or their priorities. You don’t have any chemistry and that’s okay. You might ask how that can be okay when Jesus clearly commands that we must love each other. It’s not a recommendation it’s a command because Christian love isn’t a feeling; it’s an act of the will. Jesus doesn’t say ‘This is my commandment that you like one another’, it’s not even a choice. I believe Jesus is saying that you still can love them even though you don’t care for them because love is a choice to seek their highest good.
To love someone then becomes a decision on the will. To love at this level means that there are times we put their needs above our own, we put aside our selfish desires and love them as they are. Think about it, on the night before Jesus was to be crucified and the evening should have been about him, He put that aside and washed the feet of all His disciples, He broke bread with them and served them, He let them sleep while He agonized in the garden. Although He knew He would be dying for each of them He selflessly served them putting His feelings aside because He loved each of them, including Judas who He knew would betray Him. This is the love that Jesus speaks of when He says love everyone as I have loved you.
Most likely you will not have to die for your friends, family, or hard to get along with Christians but when you show love and acceptance to each one of them even when you don’t like them you are choosing to do what Jesus has asked, love them as they are. After all we are not perfect and many times I am sure Jesus is sad of the choices we make or how we act and yet He loves us unconditionally. He has accepted us as we are and in knowing Him and walking with Him we can become better Christians. And when you read further in chapter 15 Jesus calls us His friends when we do what He has commanded. And that is a friendship we all like to have.
So, remember as you study this verse yourself, we are all responsible to take initiative and show love for one another. As we do so, we provide the greatest witness for Christianity. Friendships make the church go forward.