Jesus said it best: “Love one another.” This command was “new” in His day, and it still can feel kind of new and unfamiliar at times to us, too.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though.
We can and love our neighbors (our “one anothers”) when we wisely and prayerfully allow the Holy Spirit to guide our relationships and daily interactions with others. So it’s not us desperately trying to obey a law in some fear-of-disappointing-God way, but rather, it can be an opening up of the Lord’s free-flowing grace (the same grace that He bestows on us!) and compassionately extending it to others.
Will we mess up? Sure. We’re imperfect, but if our motives are God-honoring, then the Lord can even take our missteps and “Did I really say that?” moments and cover them with love and forgiveness.
Does this mean that we will be BFFs with everybody? No. Jesus was perfect and still couldn’t please everyone, so we may have people who oppose us, too. Other times, God allows some friendships and relationships to naturally end – no fault on either side, necessarily, but a time when lives go in different directions. And that’s okay, too. I have learned that we can love others with varying degrees of relational distance, too.
Other times, we are hurt terribly by those close to us, and during such circumstances, we must trust that the same God who created and loves us (and everyone!) has a plan for all parties involved that He is working out according to His sovereign hand. The choice before us, though, is whether to hold on to the pain with a closed fist, or to release it and open ourselves up to receiving an entirely new or different experience.
I suppose that it all begins and ends with biblical love (compassionate, others-focused, and even sacrificial), anyway, so this “love one another” business is a command that is well worth obeying, no?
PS – I was nominated for the “Three Quotes in Three Days” Challenge by God Makes All Things New (a delightful blog!), and I thought I’d reference inspirational Bible verses that are near and dear to my heart for this challenge. This is my first quote, so to speak; and while “love one another” is a simple command, it’s not always an easy one to obey. Yet when we do so, our lives are transformed, and so are the lives of many others.
I freely nominate anyone who wishes to participate in this challenge. My only request is that your quotes uplift, inspire, and provide hope to others (and that’s why I’ll be sticking with the Bible!). 😉