To love one another is a command that Jesus insisted had primacy for his disciples, just before he was to depart from them. I say depart, because even though after his death and resurrection, he appeared to them over a period of forty days, it still wasn't the same. This chapter was coming to a close, the time he has been with them day and night during his earthly ministry.
And Jesus qualified this command in shocking terms that was beyond the disciples at that point, and apart from grace remains beyond us today. We're to love each other as brothers and sisters in Jesus, just as Jesus has loved us. Or in the words of Jesus' command to his disciples, "Love one another, as I have love you."
I want to love others in this way, and I need their love in return just as much. This means an awful lot of patience and grace and mercy at times. I know I need it sometimes. And just as I know that, I need to readily extend it to others.
As we learn to practice this kind of love, in which we're not only willing to lay down our lives for each other as Jesus did, but we live that out from day to day in sacrificial love, we also can learn to love the world as Jesus did. Jesus practiced love to his enemies, asking the Father to forgive them during his darkest hour on the cross (though his time in Gethsemane may have been even darker).
This love is not bereft of truth. Indeed, we must live it out in truth. Love is not love apart from the truth as it is in Jesus. Neither is truth really truth if not in the love of God found in Jesus. Truth and love must be joined together, and this is only possible in Jesus.
I'm glad for brothers and sisters in Jesus who love us maturely enough to tell us the truth about ourselves. Actually I've found that such people are few and far between. Sometimes this is so because one loves well and in the truth in Jesus, but is just not far enough along in their Christian walk to be comfortable or ready to do that. But as we grow and mature in Christ, we need to be ready in love, in the love of God in Jesus, to gently bring truth when needed into a brother or sister's life.
I'm grateful for the few who are willing to tell me the hard things about myself, but do so as those who love me as a brother or sister. And in turn I want to be ready to help others in the same way, remembering my own weakness as I in no way or sense look down on them.
Just a few thoughts on loving each other as God in Jesus has called us to do.
What might you like to add to this, or share concering it?