“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” — John 13:34–35
“We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord.”
Everyone loves to receive gifts at Christmas time – especially kids. You may remember how as a child, those weeks before Christmas were so difficult, creeping by the tree wondering what was in those boxes. And you would hope it was exactly what you’d asked for.
So begins a well-known hymn from the 1960s that echoes the words of Jesus, spoken in John 13.
You probably already know the song’s refrain:
“And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. They will know we are Christians by our love.”
No matter your community, you will encounter people with different opinions, ideas, and attitudes from your own. These differences can be challenging, and our Lord knew this when He gave this command to His disciples, a diverse group that included a tax collector, a nationalistic zealot, and fishermen.
Living in community as fallen humans means conflict is unavoidable. So, when we love one another as Christ loved us, we will stand out from other groups of people, witnessing to the unifying power of Jesus in our lives.
Loving each other means much more than a fluffy feeling of goodwill toward someone. It’s an ongoing choice to act in the best interest of the other, to be patient and kind to the other, and to seek unity through the Holy Spirit.
It is, without a doubt, a tall order. And that’s precisely why it’s such a powerful sign to the world around us.
They will know we are Christians by our love.
Ask God to help you love those around you in a way that shines the light of Christ to the world around you.
Questions for thought
Why do you think it was so important for Jesus to leave His disciples with the command to love one another before He left this earth?
How can you show those around you that you love them as Christ loves them?