When I think about going deeper in my love, what stands out to me is the love described by Jesus in John 13:34. I love this verse because of the clarity that Jesus brings to us in this message to His disciples. To love others was not a new commandment (Leviticus 19:18), but to love others in the same way Christ loved others was revolutionary. You’ll notice that when Jesus commands that we should love one another “in the same way I have loved you”, He offers no contingencies. He doesn’t end this verse with an “if…”. There is no version of this verse that reads, “Love each other… “if the other person does what you tell them” …or even “if the other person treats you well”. It is clear and direct. There is no gray area…but haven’t all of us, at one point or another, added our own exceptions?
As I read this verse, I know I have been guilty of sometimes adding my own “if’s” at points in my life. I have found myself making up reasons why a person doesn’t deserve my forgiveness, compassion, or love based on what they have done “to me” and in turn have lost sight of what God has done “for me”. Jesus follows up this verse with the reminder that, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” If I want to reflect Jesus in my life and be known as a Christ-follower, it begins with how I love others.
I hope this verse stands out to you as not just a way to interact but a way to live our lives. Jesus didn’t just say these words, He lived them out throughout His ministry. Jesus led the way for us and uses this verse as not only a reminder of how we should love others, but how we are loved by Him. 1 John 4:19 tells us, “We love because He first loved us.” What if during this time, we were more intentional than ever to reach out to those we love and to simply tell them. Throughout the Bible, God makes a point to tell us again and again how much He loves us. I can’t think of a better way to honor God and show our love for Him than to take time this week to reach out to one another and simply tell them you love them. Make it a point to “love each other” in the same way He has loved you. Who can you reach out to this week to remind them that they are loved?