Friday, October 2, 2009

A not-so-new Commandment

Read: 2 John 1:5.

Have you ever noticed that it can be easier to get along with non-Christians in the world than the Christian brothers and sisters in your own church? As you love your Christian 'siblings' more and more, you get closer to them. Your lives become intertwined, the barriers come down and pretenses are dropped. Subtlety and diplomacy give way to frankness and honesty, with often brutal consequences.

How do we love our Christian brothers and sisters? There are a thousand ways. If you have a problem with someone, go and work it out, on on one (Matthew 18:15-17). Don't go and tell everyone else instead: that's gossip. We should forgive each other, then do it again, and then repeat this seventy times seven times (Matthew 18:21-22).

Why is it so important to love one another? First: we are told to. That's what commandment means. It's not an optional extra.

John said this was not a new commandment; but, it was a new one, once, when the Lord Jesus gave it. He said, "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).

The second reason it's important to love one another is that it is our mark of identification as Christians. It's not the cross, and it's not bumper stickers. People should know we follow Christ because we love one another. It should be that obvious.

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