The Bible tells us that by our love for one another the world will know that we are disciples of Jesus; not by our songs of worship, or by voicing our opinions on righteousness and pointing our fingers in indignant condemnation; not by whether we wear a mask or not, nor by our political affiliation. We are commanded over and over again to love, not only those whom we agree with, but those we would rather not even associate with. Love is the glorious and holy standard that Jesus calls us to pursue in representing Him accurately and well. Love is the basis by which we should judge our words and actions towards others in this world. Love should give us pause before opening our mouths and closing off doors. Jesus came from Heaven in pursuit of imperfect sinners, people just like you and me, and He gave His life in the fullness of complete and sacrificial love despite our depravity. He didn’t come to judge us, but rather to love us into His Family.
A few questions for us to ask ourselves before speaking or engaging with others is, “Am I reacting on selfish impulse and hateful retribution, or responding in love? Am I representing Jesus well? Would He be pleased with me? Am I obeying His command to love others?” How we answer these questions directs the course of our lives and impacts the lives of many others. Will our behavior lead people to seek out the Savior, or push them away?
Scripture plainly tells us that unless the signature of our lives is love, all our preaching and praising will be in vain and sound much like a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1)
John 13:34-35, ““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
1 John 4:7-8, 19-21, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love…We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”