In the book of John, chapter 13, verses 34-35, Jesus makes one of the most profound statements to radically shape the course of history. He says "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." In context, it seems so simple. Yet in practice, it becomes a task that is often insurmountable. I'm going to lend this issue to the condition of the human heart. We have become for the most part a people more concerned with ourselves than others. You see it at a tender age of a child when they have a toy taken away or are asked to share that toy. They have also learned the fine art of crying and whining to get their way, particularly when it comes to public settings. Those with kids know what I'm referencing. That moment in the check out line in the store and they know exactly where to put candy. The child proceeds to take their choice and refused in a tantrum mind you that they will not give it up. And so it continues through life. Our focus is on our needs and wants. The concept of loving one another would mean giving up our own desires and being willing to sacrifice for others. This could be as easy as a smile or handshake. Or as far as donating a kidney or providing a place to sleep. Love comes in many various forms. A cold glass of water, a listening ear, a plate of food, clothing, a place to sleep, a visit to a prison inmate or nursing home, caring for a widow and we could go on and on. Love is difficult to define and there's what some call tough love and forbids a certain right to protect the person, such as attendance at a particular event.
However, the ultimate act of love is called unconditional love. The prime example is Jesus giving His all at the cross for our sake, to remove the stain of sins and conquer death once and for all. That term unconditional means just that. There are no strings attached, no conditions to which the love is given. It is totally and completely a free gift. While we may talk about loving in this way, we still at some level have a condition. Whether it's recognition or others noticing us, the feeling of doing something good or even to get ahead. Just when we think we're doing it out of selfless love and without condition, there's often strings attached. The saying goes you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. We can disagree on this statement and I pray we are loving unconditionally, but only deep within we know for certain our own hearts which God can only judge. I'm not about to say one way or another. When we belong to Christ, this love will naturally flow. It's a surrender and a commitment that we are not our own but bought at a price.
I think about this often and the love that flows from those nail pierced hands and feet is overwhelming. It truly never sinks in the degree to which this moment changed my life forever. Here's the Son of God who leaves His place in Heaven to walk on this earth and endure the life which He did just for us. He left the glorious riches to the humility of a servant's heart. This is the place of love He calls us to. Serving one another in love. As we do so, all men will know we belong to Him. Will they understand why we love the way we do? Perhaps not. Will it send a message that this world is not about us? I believe so. There's many who love this way and claim no faith. But Jesus answers the way to the Father in John 14: 6. He says "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
As we walk the remainder days of our lives here on this earth, let us love one another. Let us place aside our difference and realize that Jesus died for all, not just a few. His love was demonstrated that we might know the Father and that we might have relationship. His love changed everything and it has the potential to change the relationships between fellow brothers and sisters. Imagine a world where we love as Jesus loved us? It warms my heart and brings a smile to my face. I pray a blessed day to you and and a heart that overflows with love.