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God commands that we love one another

“When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

“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.” – John 13:31-35

Many Christians think that Christianity is all about what we say. The truth is, Christianity is more about what we do than what we say. The good things that we do come from the heart, not the mouth.

An early church writer and defender of the faith, Tertullian of Carthage declared that the one thing that converted him to Christianity was not the arguments they gave him because he could find a counterpoint for every argument they would present. “But they demonstrated something I didn’t have. The thing that converted me to Christianity was the way they loved each other.”

In the above text, Jesus commanded his disciples to love one another. This command also includes us in the Christian church today. Love is important to Christians because love is the nature of God. John tells us: “God is love.”

We all crave love, but when it comes to sharing that love we so crave, we find it difficult. Many will probably agree that some of the people around us are difficult to love. They cause us much grief.

These people include family members, coworkers and neighbors. From our perspective, they don’t deserve our love.

We may even try to love them, but because of the things that they do, we find it difficult to invest any love in them. Notwithstanding this, Jesus commands us to love our fellow men, even the worst of the worst.

But how can we love people who abuse our trust? How can we love people whose life is so messed up they will drag us to their level in the gutter?

Love is a powerful tool. The best revenge is to love those who have offended us. They will wonder why we love them when they have displayed hate towards us.

Jesus gave this command because many of us think love should go to those who deserve it. That is why he did not make a suggestion – rather, he commanded us to love one another.

During his life here on earth, Jesus displayed more love than all the people who ever lived upon this earth, combined. His life was love. Daily he displayed love and kindness.

Even when the people rejected and persecuted him, he still displayed love and compassion. As he hung on the cross, paying the price for humanity’s sins, the people, who observed, hurled insults at him. Yet, in the midst of the hate, he displayed love for those same people.

Based upon human’s standards, he should have sought revenge. Instead, he had compassion for his persecutors and cried out, “Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”

Jesus’ command is as prevalent today as it was over 2,000 years ago. “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.” Amen.

• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau,119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; telephone 426-9084; e-mail lutheranchurch@coralwave.com; or website www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.

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