Last post I briefly glossed over the question of what it means to truly love your neighbor as yourself.
I want to talk about that a little more because whether it be in my reading for the day or on the radio, love for one another seems to be a theme that keeps popping up.
What is love for one another?
The Bible says in John 15: 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
“These things I command you, that you love one another.” John 15:17
John 13: 34 says “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
Matthew 22 has Christ’s response to the question of “What is the greatest commandment?” as this: Love God and love your neighbor.
So if we Christians think that love is the greatest commandment of all, how do we show it?
And to whom? Does this love only apply to the people we, well, love?
I believe the principle in Titus 3: 1-2 (the verse that is the feature image for this post) is this: as Christ’s followers, we are to develop these types of qualities.
I’m not going to say that because we’re not immediately nice to people who wrong us or we don’t go to church every weekend like we should mean we don’t have a love for God or our fellow man. We are sinful humans after all.
But really, though, if we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, shouldn’t we aim to develop the kind of love that treats others with respect and goes to worship God in His house on His day?
The kind of love that serves others even when we don’t feel like it or even though that neighbor is incredibly nasty and hocks loogies outside your window every morning?
The kind of love that obeys God, goes to church even if we can’t stand a certain church member, and abstains from willfully sinning?
Isn’t that what faith is all about, trusting that God will help you through what seems impossible?
As Titus puts it, show humility to all men.
Now I know what oppositions could come up. Like, how can I be nice to someone who raped me? or abused my child?
I cannot give direct answers to those questions. All I know is God can make what seems impossible possible.
Abiding in Christ means a constant receiving of His Spirit, a life of unreserved surrender to His service. The channel of communication must be open continually between man and his God. As the vine branch constantly draws the sap from the living vine, so are we to cling to Jesus and receive from Him by faith the strength and perfection of His own character.
The Desire of Ages, 676
John 13:35 says “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
I’ve been tempted to think that because someone acts a certain way towards another person or thinks a certain mean thought about them, he/she really doesn’t love that person. But I don’t know if I believe that anymore. I think our moments of weakness and plain old humanity get the better of us, and we lose our grip.
Love to man is the earthward manifestation of the love of God. It was to implant this love, to make us children of one family, that the King of glory become one with us. And when His parting words are fulfilled, ‘Love one another, as I have loved you,’ (John 15:12); when we love the world as He has loved it, then for us His mission is accomplished. We are fitted for heaven; for we have heaven in our hearts.
Many who profess His name have lost sight of the fact that Christians are to represent Christ. Unless there is practical self-sacrifice for the good of others, in the family circle, in the neighborhood, in the church, and wherever we may be, then whatever our profession, we are not Christians.
The Desire of Ages, 641 and 504
I think we could all do more of serving others and truly trying to understand what it means to love one another.
Until I come up with a clever sign-off,