Monday, April 21, 2008

loving each other

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?

6 comments:

preacherman said...

Ted,
Wonderful post brother.
I want you to know I love you.
Yes, as Christ love the Church and gave himself up for it. Isn't it wonderful that he gave us a "new commandment". All men will know we are disciple if we love one another. What stress! What a challenge for us all! I hope and strive to love everyone especially those who hate me. I want to heap coals on their heads. I want to leave room for God's wrath. I strive to be like Christ, love the entire world. Love God with all of my heart, soul, strength and mind. I don't think we can pick and choose who are neighbors are can we. I love the Iraqi's, Iranians and all of those who call me infidales. What would happen if America showed love towards all nations, okay, forget America, I hate politics. What if every Christian showed love toward all men like Jesus Christ did? Do you think we would make a difference in the world, our society? I do. I pray for unity in the Church and love toward all men. I pray that all men will see my love and see Christ in me. Nothing more, nothing less.

Keep up the great blogging brother!
In Him,
Kinney Mabry
Aka,
Preacherman! :-) 1 Tim 4:12

NaNcY said...

thank you for such a good post.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Kinney,
Thanks for your inspiring, encouraging and great comment. I concur wholeheartedly!

I love the story in Yancey's great book, "What's So Amazing About Grace" of the Civil Rights activist of the 60's who was called to be a missionary to the Ku Klux Klan, and had a fruitful work in sharing the gospel and his life to them.

We need to love all, just like you say. No picking and choosing for us in Jesus.

Thanks!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Thank you, and your welcome, sister.

The Walk said...

Yes, how wonderful and rare it is to find someone who loves us enough to tell us the truth--the good and the bad. So often people just fill our ears with empty flattery. And I know I am guilty of this A LOT as well. But some people also have a tendancy to tear one another down...

I have a dear mentor who helps me to discover my strengths again and again, by mentioning them directly, specifically. We don't often find people in our lives who are willing to do this. And I know I can trust her to tell me when I am being an idiot, as well. I am so grateful for her.y

Ted M. Gossard said...

The Walk,
You are truly blessed to have such a mentor.

Well said.

Thanks.