My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12
One of my favorite churches started several years ago as a ministry to ex-prisoners who were transitioning back into society. Now the church flourishes with people from all walks of life. I love that church because it reminds me of what I picture heaven will be like—filled with different kinds of people, all redeemed sinners, all bound together by the love of Jesus.
Sometimes, though, I wonder if church seems more like an exclusive club than a safe haven for forgiven sinners. As people naturally gravitate into groups of “a certain kind” and cluster around those they feel comfortable with, it leaves others feeling marginalized. But that’s not what Jesus had in mind when He told His disciples to “love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). His church was to be an extension of His love mutually shared with all.
If hurting, rejected people can find loving refuge, comfort, and forgiveness in Jesus, they should expect no less from the church. So let’s exhibit the love of Jesus to everyone we encounter—especially those who are not like us. All around us are people Jesus wants to love through us. What a joy it is when people unite to worship together in love—a slice of heaven we can enjoy here on earth!
Lord, remind me today that while I was a sinner You embraced me with Your deep and unconditional love and brought me into the fellowship of Your grace. Lead me to someone I can love as You loved me.
Share Christ’s love with another.
Have you ever wondered how Jesus could command His disciples to love anyone? How can you force people of varying backgrounds and interests to care for one another?
Such instruction probably won’t make sense until we understand what kind of a king Jesus was—and what kind of relationship He had with His Father. He wasn’t saying, “I’ll love you if you love me.” That’s not the way His relationship with His Father worked. He knew His Father loved Him. When He loved and obeyed His Father’s commands, it was because Jesus knew and listened to His Father’s heart. In the Spirit of our God, we love our King—and one another—because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).