5 So now, dear lady, I am asking you to live by the command that we love one another. I’m not writing to you some new commandment; it’s one we received in the beginning from our Lord. 6 Love is defined by our obedience to His commands. This is the same command you have known about from the very beginning; you must live by it.
If you read what I write regularly you’ll know I write a lot about love. As I understand it love is the bottom line in every situation, it’s the foundation and it’s the pinnacle. Happily for me, it seems I am in good company as John feels the same way and he got his direction straight from Jesus.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
It’s a simple message but somehow one we find hard to consistently live out. Not only us but all people in all times fail at some point or other which is why we need Jesus to save us from that failure and need the Holy Spirit who constantly to changes and empowers us so we can stay faithful to His commands.
As we can see that in the world around us loving each other is a subjective thing depending on ‘if we feel like it’ or ‘if they let us’ or ‘if they deserve it’ but John says we ‘must live by it’. It’s not optional to love others as much as we love ourselves. It’s not optional to turn a blind eye to those who are suffering or struggling. It’s not optional to care for the poor, the widows and the orphans. It’s not optional to be a disciple, to make disciples, to set the right example, to let our light shine before men.
It’s not optional and Jesus wasn’t joking when He told us to love our neighbour. The command is in the other gospels too. But you’ll notice He doesn’t give specific examples because if He had then like the Pharisees we’d only do those. Love one another can’t be contained in a few examples it means exactly what it says:
Love -care for, consider, protect, value, understand, feed, clothe, shelter, visit, talk to, hug, nurture, teach, show… (add your own words because love doesn’t end with my vocabulary)
One another – everyone no matter who they are or what they do.
As we begin (or continue) the rush to Christmas let’s take the time to see others and share the love we’ve received with those for whom it is also intended.