“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Being a Christian isn’t about following rules, but it is about love. Jesus doesn’t say this is a nice suggestion that we might want to think about incorporating into our lives; he gives it as an order, a command: ‘love’. And what does love look like? Sometimes it’s hard to find the answer at this time of year beneath all the tinsel and glittery lights…
But here’s an answer.
Love is asking God for a glimpse of His heart, and being willing to accept the consequences.
Love looks like the creator of the entire universe being freely born into our dark world of pain and suffering as a tiny, helpless baby. Love is that baby growing up so he could live a perfect life amidst fear and temptation, and then die the most excruciating death, just so that we could be reconciled with God. Love isn’t that warm feeling that we have for family and friends. Love is the determination to actively seek the good of others above yourself, whether or not you ‘feel it’ at the time. Love is asking God for a glimpse of His heart, and being willing to accept the consequences.
We are Jesus’ disciples. We are His witnesses on earth. What would it look like if we really loved one another as Jesus loved us?
We aren’t called to a limited, human love. We are called to the radical, extravagant, crazy, nonsensical love that Jesus had for us.
All around the world, our Christian family are being persecuted for loving him. Jesus says people should recognise us as Christians by our love for one another, a love that should be as outrageous as His love is for us. At Christmas we remember that amazing, incredible love, but will we act on it? Will we respond to it, so that when others see us, they see that same incredible love?