Pastor Travis Burkett
John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
If there is one attribute of Jesus that I’m overwhelmingly amazed by, there is no doubt it’s His love. Jesus loved people. As believers in Jesus, we are called to live like Jesus, and part of that is loving like Jesus loved. One of the things that breaks my heart and I’m sure it breaks God’s too…is that people are often turned off by Christians because they can be judgmental. I’ve heard people say, “I like Jesus but I don’t like the people who claim to follow Him.” The reality is, people can be angry, harsh, demeaning, judgmental, and problematic. Now that’s just the human race, but when we claim Jesus, the world even knows that means we are supposed to be different.
So how can we be known by our love? When Jesus interacted with people,
He showed that He wants the best for people. He wanted to comfort but also to confront. Jesus loved the outcast and the powerful. He spent time with the poor and the Pharisees. Now, I’m not saying that we should simply embrace everything in life. Let me clarify. Yes, Christians can be the most judgmental in the room. However, righteous judgment isn’t sinful judgment. Meaning: If I’m trying to help someone out of a sin problem with genuine love, that’s not judgmental, that’s a good thing.
I had a friend in college who struggled with a deep-rooted sin. He actually was kicked out of college because of this issue. People wrote him off. Now, I was a little uncomfortable, but I wanted to help him. So, I reached out. Sadly, people judged me for helping him. Today, he has overcome that sin and God called him into ministry.
When I reached out to him, I didn’t embrace his sin, but I did do three things:
- I apologized for other Christians.
- I acknowledged his sin and need to change.
- I offered support.
The reality is, to be a disciple of Jesus, we must learn to love people like Jesus. I believe that true disciples are known by the depth of their love for people.
In John 13, Jesus gives a refreshed command to His disciples. Jesus just had the last supper. Jesus announced that Judas would betray Him. Jesus gives word that He will be leaving to face the cross and then comes John 13:34-35. Amazing, we are known by our love for other followers of Jesus.
This commandment wasn’t just invented, but it was presented in a fresh light. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, but we are commanded to love other believers as Jesus loves us. It wasn’t just about loving like Jesus to be like Jesus but that the world would see Jesus through your life.
I remember my friend, alone and empty. Yet, one person reaching out to show love with a need to change made a difference. How can we choose to love other believers today? Maybe it’s to lay down a preference or choose to avoid the Facebook debate. May we love our family and keep Christ the focus.