If I had to pick a cornerstone directive from Jesus that is most actionable and applicable to everyday life, it would be to Love One Another.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.John 13:34 NIV
His three simple words are a very basic concept, but can be a monumental challenge.
It’s easy to love the people who are easy to love. It’s easy to love the people who love us. Usually loving our spouse, our parents, and our children is not a difficult challenge (although to some it is).
I assure you that I love my husband dearly, but I still haven’t figured out how to control my temper from flaring over our ‘hot button topics’. My argumentative approach isn’t loving. Jesus asks me to do better.
Perhaps you can find shortcomings in the way you show love to those whom you love.
Do you give hugs and kisses and say “I love you”? Do you criticize? Do your words and actions convey your love?
Every day is a chance to do better and act more lovingly.
Why is that necessary? There are a whole bunch of people in this world we don’t know. From the homeless guy who hangs out in Lowe’s parking lot, to the hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.
How do you show love to people you don’t know, but who are struggling?
We all have limited financial resources and taking care of our family comes first, but there are also non-financial ways to show love by helping. Volunteering at worthy organizations that help people (and animals) in need shows love. Using social media to promote organizations doing God’s work shows love. Holding the door for the elderly woman at the post office shows love.
There are countless ways to show love to those in need who we don’t even know.
Ouch. This one’s tough.
Not everyone will love us. Let’s face it, we don’t love everyone either. But how do we still obey Jesus’ command to love?
My approach is two steps.
Forgiveness. Not holding a grudge. Moving on with my life and leaving my offender behind. Not letting the bad memories take up valuable real-estate in my mind.
Perhaps your struggle boils down to forgiveness. If you’re struggling with forgiveness, you might take a peek at my post about it: https://findinggodamongus.com/forgiveness/
Develop a “live and let live” mentality. No gossip. No dragging down the other person’s reputation. No recruiting your friends to pick your side over hers (or his).
I find that sticking to the “Kind and True” philosophy of only saying things that are BOTH kind and true keeps me in check and prevents me from spreading ill will.
Forgiveness plus speaking about a person in a way that is both kind and true are loving acts.
We don’t have to associate with people to treat them lovingly and respectfully. With this in mind, loving someone who doesn’t love you becomes a more attainable goal.
Jesus implored us to love one another. He is speaking to me. He is speaking to you. Start with this basic directive and it will strengthen the foundation on which to grow your faith.
Let the following passages speak to your soul and give you the motivation you need to love even when it’s a challenge.
And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.1 John 3:23 NIV
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.John 13:34-35 NIV
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.1 John 4:12 NIV
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.Romans 13:8 NIV
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.Romans 12:10 NIV
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.Ephesians 4:2 NIV
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.1 Peter 1:22 NIV
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.1 John 4:7 NIV
Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.1 Thessalonians 4:9 NIV
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.Galatians 5:13 NIV
What’s your most difficult aspect of loving? Let me know in the comments.