I am constantly praying John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another,” over my life and over the life of the church. But recently I felt the Lord nudge me to check out the verse before it. And John 13:34 says, “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.” It was like the words on the page took life and meaning in a whole new way, and I sat there stunned. The kindness of the Lord had so deeply convicted me. “A new commandment”. “To love one another as I have loved you”. It’s not just a good idea, but it’s something that Jesus has charged us with. As believers, loving one another is our calling! This is the testimony that we as believers are not just invited to partake in, but we are commanded to. We are to love one another in the church family radically and sacrificially, and by doing so, the world would KNOW that we are His disciples.
Loving one another seems super simple in concept, but so often we let disputes or differences get in the way of fully valuing the person in front of us. I see relationships torn apart simply because they are unwilling to find common ground and seek understanding. In this election season, don’t let political differences get in the way of simply loving. You don’t need to get your point across and you don’t always need to have your way. If you find yourself feeling stretched thin, ask the Lord for grace to see this season through well–to respond and move forward with the heart of God. This is a one in a lifetime opportunity to go out of your way to put your differences aside and lean into the heart of God!
My prayer for this season is that the Lord would keep our hearts soft to one another. In the midst of political and cultural upheaval, “let grace abound” as you seek to see people for who they are and not what they do or believe. As a church may we be marked by the love of God. May our community recognize us as unique and beautiful because we are the ones that are able to put our differences aside to laugh and love and feast together. Would Jesus be the one thing that holds us all together. And would people look at us and say, “I don’t understand that. It’s strange, because they’re so different, but they function as family.”
This is the type of church Jesus longs for. It’s the type of church we long for too — we just haven’t fully realized it yet.