How do you identify a Christian? By a fish on their car or a cross around their neck? No, they are identified by love. But what does it look like to love other believers?
In the Old Testament we are told an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (Exodus 21:24). In Luke, we hear the golden rule: “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (6:31) But here in John, Jesus gives us the platinum rule. Those other rules may work in society, but even the golden rule – at some level – is self-centered.
Let’s say you really like receiving hugs. Following the golden rule, you should give out hugs indiscriminately. Now, it may come as a surprise that some don’t like receiving hugs. So what does it look like to love others? It looks like the love that Jesus has for us. He loved us so much that he was willing to lay down his life for us. Our love for one another is to be marked by sacrifice. In a word, we as believers ought to relate to one another as family. As Jesus loved us without any expectation of reciprocation, so we ought to love one another.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)
Jesus, loving others is hard. By the power of your Holy Spirit, make me more and more like you. Amen.