There is little that is more sad than the stories of homes where there was neglect or abuse. If there is anywhere we should always feel safe and loved, it’s home, among family. It is also sad when we hear of Church abuse or neglect. We should feel safe among those who love Him.
According to what love is, our fellow believers should be a circle of people with whom we can share, people we care about and who care about us. If we are able, we should readily help when help is needed. We should be able to be confidential and transparent without being judged or someone using information against us. The Lord is our main confidant, of course. But, we are in a family of believers with whom we should be able to walk together through life. Yet, in too many circles, judgment lurks, ready to pounce on anyone who confesses a sin, weakness or failure.
Jesus said, “Love one another…”. He placed emphasis with, “I give you a new commandment.”
Note: People often cross this with loving our neighbors. Actually, if we look at the language, the idea of one another is derived from the Greek word allelon which means “one another, each other; mutually, reciprocally.” That would be, those with whom we have mutuality, our brothers and sisters in Christ. In that respect, I would think that the last word, reciprocally, would be according to its second definition, (of an agreement or obligation) bearing on or binding each of two parties equally. So, while loving our neighbor is one of the most important commandments, Jesus also made sure that we would look to love one another. I think this idea comes up again in Galatians 6:10, about doing good, “especially to those of the family of believers”.
Loving our neighbor is huge. The world needs Jesus’ love. But, we should not be so busy that we neglect our own house. The world sees how we treat one another and this will speak volumes. As we read further about the “New Commandment”, we see He says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples.”
Jonathan loved David. He would give his life for David and nearly did. Jonathan knew that God appointed David to be king and Jonathan would stop at nothing to protect David and promote him. For some reason, we don’t even want to be bothered with our brother’s life issues.
Too many of us are too wrapped up in our own issues. We become indifferent, self-absorbed or simply keep others at arms length. We don’t want close relationships with others as we probably don’t want them to find out our shortcomings. But, among one another should be our safe place…right?
How big is love? What does it mean to love? How do we love one another? There are great examples in scripture, of course. Jesus showed the best example of a life of love. We can also see the famous list in 1st Corinthians 13 of the attributes of love…patient, kind, does not envy (this is not mere jealousy, but not wanting someone else to have what we want), does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonor others, not self-seeking, not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs.
In my view, love seems to be about setting aside ourselves…our agendas. We are told that there is no greater love than to give up one’s life for his friends. Husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave up Himself.
Self. Set aside.
Love is not about self-denial or self-deprecation, but about doing for another beyond yourself: your needs, your wants, your desires, your opinions…your agenda. There are Christians who talk an awful lot about the agendas of others, but I think many of us have some pretty major agendas (I think I might tackle this agenda issue in a future post).
For now, I encourage each of us to examine where we might set our agendas above what is good for one another and, conversely, where we can set one another above our own agendas. We need to begin to love one another as Jesus loves us, as He demonstrated with the disciples.
“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 13:34-35, NIV