“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 people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
In Jesus’ call for us to love one another, He adds the caveat, “…just as I have loved you.” I believe that it is necessary that we periodically ponder the just as I have loved you command.
How has He loved us? Unconditionally. The Holy Spirit reveals that God has not loved us because we are loveable, but because it is His nature to do so.
Now, He calls us to love others with the same unconditional love with which He has loved us. Easy? No, it is not. But it is possible through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in every born-again believer. Do not be surprised when God brings someone into your life that you cannot respect, but by His mandate must love just as He has loved you.
When we truly come to understand that God has loved us to the uttermost, in spite of our sin, our meanness, and our selfishness, we will better understand how and why He now sends us into the world to love in the same way.
In some way, our Christian growth gets bogged down, when a certain person comes into our life for which we have no affinity or affection, and we refuse to love them as Christ has loved us. And that is where we will stay bogged down until we make the choice to love as we have been commanded to love.
In chapter one of my book The One Another Project, which by the way is titled, Love One Another, I shared the following, “Years ago, an elderly minister spoke to me about the implications either loving or not loving another. He said, “One’s love for God cannot exceed the love that one has for the one they love the least.”
As I grow older, as a man and as a Christian, I have come to believe that his statement is a true statement. For the Apostle John said, in his first epistle, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and yet hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (I John 4:20-21).
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (I John 4:7-8).