Love. One. Another.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples if you love one another.  John 13:34-35

Unbound.  Unchained.  Unfettered.  Unshackled.  The love that sets the captive free.  These are some of my favorite words.  These words describe what God’s love does for us – it frees us.  God’s love frees us from the bondage of sin, shame, regret, worry, doubt, and the list goes on.  His love for us paid every debt of our sins and He loves us unconditionally.  He doesn’t hold grudges.  He doesn’t remember our relapses.  He forgets, never to remember again.  How can He do that?  In our humanness, even with the best of intentions, we can never love like that.  Only He is capable of love like that, but He does equip us to love others in His name.

It is Valentine’s Day once again, and typically this day is all about romantic love.  Some may think romantic love is the greatest kind of love but truly the greatest love we can ever experience is the love of Christ.  As wives and mothers we can get worn out physically and emotionally from “loving” our families. But when we experience God’s love in our own hearts, we can love others even more profoundly. He loved us enough to sacrifice His life for us.  He loved us and then He commanded us – just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 

Loving people can be hard sometimes; and some people are harder to love than others, but Jesus didn’t say love who you want to love, or love all the easy, lovable people – He said love one another just as I have loved you.

We humans make it too complicated.  We make the mistake of thinking that we have to like people before we can show the love of Christ to them.  It is very possible to love someone in Christ without liking them or approving of their choices.  This may be the most Christ-like kind of love ever.  Without a doubt, Jesus has not approved of every choice I have made, but, without a doubt, I know He loves me.  Jesus definitely might call you to have a deeper relationship with someone that you may not want to, in order to fulfill His plan for them – or you. 

Every single day there is someone we can show love to, just by being kind and helping when possible.  It can be as simple as a smile with little cost or inconvenience to you, or God may call for something much more inconvenient. 

The next verse goes on to say that it is by these actions that we will be known – whether we are His disciples of not – If we love one anotherDon’t we want to be known as His disciples above everything else in life?  The answer to that question is yes, yes, we do!  If we are not known as His disciples, we are not effective for His kingdom.  Loving people like Jesus loves may take us to some places we never expected, and we may find ourselves doing things we never dreamed of doing.  It is not always pretty, easy, or clean.  But it is what He asks of us and usually the reward is great, for our hearts and theirs. 

Love one another, as I have loved you.  Simple and to the point.  Do it.  Go show the love of Christ to someone who desperately needs to see it today. 

By Lara Cook

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