“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
Every word that Jesus spoke was for our own welfare, and also to glorify His Father in heaven. Notice that He did not say, “You should love one another.” He said that He was giving a new commandment. Did you read that? He commanded us to love one another.
Then He says that others will know that we belong to Him. How? They will know that we are His if we have love for one another. Do we skim over this when reading the Word, thinking “Yes Lord, I love my brethren.”
But do we? Do we really?
I have witnessed so much ugliness in the church, and it saddens me like nothing else. I have seen worse treatment of Christians by other Christians than I have ever witnessed in the world!
I asked someone when I was a young believer why they thought this happens in the church. His response to me went something like, “I think that Christians are so comfortable with one another, and let their hair down so to speak, because they know that we are told to forgive.”
Sorry, but that sounds like a poor excuse for poor behavior.
The Lord tells us exactly what love looks like:
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
Are we patient with our brothers and sisters? Do we not realize that those who belong to Jesus, are at a certain place in their walk with Him? Hopefully, as we look back on our own walk with Him, we see that we have grown. (Lord, please help us to be patient with others who are learning from You.)
When we see a brother or sister in Christ who is hurting, do we stop and take the time to show kindness to them? Sometimes people just need to talk. They are not necessarily looking for solutions to a problem, but kind words from another believer; and a listening ear is a tremendous help to a suffering person. And of course, go with them before the Throne of God in prayer.
This is a tough one. Have you felt very jealous of a brother or sister in Christ because of how he or she looks? Does this person have many friends and you compare yourself to them? Do others have a talent that makes you jealous? Satan loves jealousy because he can throw his fiery darts all day long about the person with whom you are struggling.
This may sound like a hard thing to do, but try to sincerely without any motive to befriend that person. You just may find that he or she has struggles of which you had no idea. You may find that they are wonderful to be around. And you will have diffused a potential bomb. Suddenly you will find that you’re free from that ugly monster, called jealousy.
Bragging and Arrogance
My mom used to tell me, “Let others praise you.” There is so much truth in that. God made us. If we have something special about us, then we must give all glory to Him. Arrogance brings to mind a passage of Scripture:
Proverbs 6:16: “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.”
Taking into account wrongs suffered leads to bitterness. I believe that we all struggle with this one. Time and time again we forgive persons who has harmed us, and perhaps even pray for them. But as long as we are in this body, we will remember things. God forgives and forgets. He is God, and is able to do this.
We forgive, but unfortunately the event plays over in our minds. All we can do is keep forgiving and praying for those who hurt us. This may be something we do on a daily basis until our last breath. Perhaps the Lord will reconcile you to others who have caused pain and heartache in your life. That’s the best that can happen.
Rejoicing in Unrighteousness
I’ve seen Christians who seem happy when a brother of sister in Christ falls. This should not be! We, in the Body of Christ should mourn when this happens. We should be in prayer for this person. If the person is close to us, this is a time when God wants to use us to restore this child of God by holding that brother or sister accountable to make amends for whatever the issue may be, and encourage true repentance (not lip service just because he or she got caught doing something wrong).
“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen [unbeliever] and a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17).
And we are to do as Scripture teaches if the fallen are really “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (those who pretend to be something they are not):
“Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words” (Proverbs 23:9).
Hold onto your integrity:
“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret” (Ephesians 5:11-12).
It’s then that you will be rejoicing with the truth!
Bears, Believes, Hopes and Endures All Things
If we bear one another’s burdens and believe that God can do all things; be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us – then we CAN endure all things. When we practice these biblical principles in our lives we will be a good source of help to other Christians.
Love Never Fails
We’ve heard this a hundred times. We need to believe this. Jesus said there is no law against love:
“For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another” (Galatians 5:13-15).
Are we biting and devouring one another? This grieves the Lord; it interferes with your fellowship with Him, and it is does NOT show an unbelieving world that we are His disciples.
Is there a brother or sister on your mind right now you should go to and ask forgiveness from? Is there someone who hurt you badly, and you have been praying about this, but now the Lord wants you to approach that person with a forgiving spirit and attempt to reconcile with them?
PLEASE brethren, if this is of such importance to our Lord and Savior then we should be convicted in our hearts to do that which pleases Him.
Remember all of your sins that He forgave in order to reconcile you to His Father in heaven. How can you continue to mistreat your brothers and sisters in Christ, or withhold forgiveness from someone you feel has wronged you?
Let the world marvel at us, as we love and encourage one another. Believe me, they are watching us. The way you treat the brethren may have a bearing on whether an unbeliever comes to Christ or not.
“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
Blessings to all