34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
Many friendships don’t last—and not because anyone is at fault.
We formed our first impression about someone when we first met them. But with proximity and familiarity, the true person emerges and it often turns out to be very different from our first impression. This true person is not at all the person we expected or thought would be, and we are either greatly disappointed or pleasantly surprised.
When we are part of a community, we are called to look at each other through the lens of the gospel. That is, we are not to see each other in the flesh, but to see each other through the eyes of faith. When we failed to do so or refused to do so, we are adding to the proliferation of fractured and divisive Christian communities.
Today is Maundy Thursday.
The name of this day is derived from Latin mandatum, which means love. It commemorates the occasion when Jesus gave a new commandment, that our ability to love one another is the true evidence that we belong to Him.
It is ironic that some believers go to big churches to hide. They choose to isolate themselves instead of building meaningful connections and growing strong and healthy friendships. It is not something easy to do, but also it is not impossible if we are prepared to obey Jesus’ commandment to love one another.
Love is rarely convenient or easy—if it is, then it is not love to begin with. It always requires sacrifice, patience and perseverance. Love begins with God, and we learn to give and receive love from Him. The one who loves is of God and knows God. The one who says he or she loves God but hates his or her brothers and sisters is a liar (1 John 4:12). This scriptural truth tells us how much God values a loving community of sons and daughters.
Love, in the Old Covenant, was to “love your neighbour as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:31) but in the New Covenant, Jesus went further in His new commandment to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). You and I are loved by Christ, and therefore let us love each other from the supernatural strength of His love. In doing so, we are reflecting God’s love to a world starving for perfect love and unconditional acceptance.
Application: How can I love a friend in need today?
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
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