John 13:35: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
What makes Christ-followers different from others? Sometimes it is hard to tell, but in John 13:35 Jesus says we will make the greatest impact if the world sees our love for one another – not by the rules we follow. Our love and unity (not uniformity) prove to be a supernatural testimony to the reality of God our Savior.
It is easy to see why our love for one another can be such a powerful witness when our world has become so divisive and angry. Our country seems to make civil discourse over differing opinions nearly impossible. Our opinions have become our “personal truths.”
Christians are not immune to this. We often feel entitled to our rights and what we believe. Whether it is over alcohol, facemasks, music, social media, parenting, or anything else. James, the brother of Jesus, gives this command to fellow believers: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).
The Apostle Paul writes out some practical instructions as well in Ephesians 4:1-3 as to what loving each other in a hostile environment should look like: “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
The Apostle continues to put some shoe leather on this whole idea of humility and love in Philippians 2:14-15: “Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation in which you shine like stars in the universe…”
As we determine what “getting back to normal” should look like in our communities and churches, and if we want to have an impact on our world as we move forward, let us remember the truth of Scripture to help us navigate our way in love.