TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
John 13:35 is a scripture that can stand alone without any interpretation, no need to understand the political climate, the cultural environment or attempt to see if there is a hidden message. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciple, that you have love one for another.” Our No. 1 Characteristic! Christians should demonstrate, display, deliver, be describe as a people of love. In today’s society, even in the Bible Belt, Christians struggling with being identified as a people of love. We are better defined by the things that we hate and the things that we tell people that cannot be done. Not sure why we find it necessary to tell people what they can and cannot do but we Christians enjoy pointing out sin, especially the sins of others, and even more especially if the sins of others are not the same sins we commit. Church always appears to be so much fun as we look out our stained glass windows. We enjoy comparing ourselves to others we know and see, as long as we are not asked to compare ourselves to is Jesus. John 13:35 sets forth a simple plan. If you want to be identified as a follower of Jesus Christ then let that identity come from the observation of others that you are someone that loves people.
I wish that I could say I always demonstrate God’s love to everyone everywhere. I don’t want to write that I have failed in showing others just how much Jesus cares about them but the confession actually helps me in my efforts to not repeat those actions again. When I focus on love the fact is that love is much easier to show then hate. If you hate someone that requires an action plan. If you love people you can just respond as the moments arrive. When we hate that takes a lot of energy. When we love people that effort becomes who we are. When we love people you can see that characteristic immediately when someone falls, stumbles, drops their paperwork, needs a helping hand, a person that loves people sees their role immediately and an opportunity to give of themselves freely without and strings attached. It is this type of action witnessed by others that demonstrates our love for people, because we have a love for God. Some might see love demonstrated by volunteering to help out in a program, working at an event, or by giving of themselves through their volunteerism. Love could be an act of service in His name. An act of service could be picking someone up and driving them to the doctor’s office for an appointment, delivering groceries, doing maintenance task or as simple as placing a phone call to check-in on an individual, writing a note or sending a card. Whereas in hate we must plan things out, in love we can simply let it happen and begin making a positive difference.
I imagine this scripture passage taking place in a modern day office headquarters and the CEO gathering all the employees, the news media is represented and the executive unveils the new company logo. The logo is unique and the message is love. The mission statement is love, the objectives of the company are love. Everything in this public announcement is built around the concept that L. O. V. E. is what we want to be known for, recognized as, and the companies intent is that when you hear the company name love is what comes to your mind first. As a Christian what a powerful concept that our CEO Jesus Christ was unveiling when He said that we, you and I, all who bear His name would be known by our love for one another.
The world is in a mess today. Jesus Christ defined his work, life and ministry in this scripture passage in John 13:35. Yet, the world has taken control and has defined what Christianity is, what it represents and even how it operates. It is also rather clear that the world has it wrong. They don’t understand the mission, why we tell our story, what motivates us, or why we do what we do. In all of these it is quite simple. The mission is love. The story is love. The motivation is love. Why is love and what is love too.