“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people wil know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35 HCSB).”
I love this verse and I also don’t love this verse. I know as a believer I am called to love others. This seems easy, really. Love people. How hard can it be? If I use 1 Corinthians 13 as my template for loving others it seems kind of sweet and wonderful. But when I get down into verses 5-7 it starts to get tough.
“[Love] does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (HCSB).”
Oh. Wait. I am supposed to love someone and do it selflessly? I am supposed to love someone and not remind them of all the ways they have failed me? I am supposed to “endure all things?” What kind of commandment is that!?!?
I am reminded of a song from Sunday School days:
“This is my commandment that you love one another, that your joy may be full. / This is my commandment, that you love one another, that your joy may be full. /That your joy may be full, that your joy may be full. / This is my commandment that you love one another, that your joy may be full.”
Wow. So by loving someone, even those who are difficult and prickly, I am being filled(through the Holy Spirit’s help) with joy. Hmmm. I know I will need prayer and help when the Prickly People start to poke at me.
Heavenly Father, You have commanded me to love one another. Not when I feel like it and even when I really don’t want to. I must love them like You do. Without expecting love in return, often not receiving love in return. I must love them.
I know that loving them doesn’t mean liking everything he or she does, but I do know that by saying I am Your disciple, I am called to love. Help me here, please. I want to love others, even when it is loving sacrificially, with no hope of being loved in return. Thank you Jesus, for hearing me. I may have to pray this again in a few minutes, but thank you for hearing me now. Amen.
So. I choose to love. Even when it is hard. Loving when it is easy –that is easy. Loving when I don’t feel like it? That is when I will need help and I know that God will give it.