By Razak K. Dwomoh | TRINICY.org
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another;
as I have loved you, that you also love one another.’’ - John 13:34 NKJV
“This is My Commandment, that you love one another
as I have loved you.’’ - John 15:12 NKJV (emphasis in bold)
God has given us a “new commandment” - meaning, an old commandment was given prior to the new one. Anytime there is something new, it presupposes that the old is abrogated or abolished. The old commandment was given with the requirement that we love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12: 31), but the new one requires us to love people not just as ourselves but as Christ has loved us.
The standard of love is no longer us. Christ has become - and was always meant to be - the standard for how we can truly show the love of God to others. The question is, how did Christ show His love towards us? The Bible clearly indicates that Jesus Christ showed His love for us by dying for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).
Jesus did not wait for us to be perfect before showing us His love. If He did, absolutely none of us would have qualified for His love. He loved us unconditionally! Likewise, He does not want us to expect people to be friends with us, do good to us, agree with us, praise us, or bless us in anyway before we show them love.
God’s standard of love is so high that He even commands us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us! While definitely a challenging call, we have the assurance that all things are possible with God. This is why we need to continually abide in His love before we can demonstrate His love to others. After all, we can only give what we have.
Do we have the love of Christ? Has Christ showed us His unconditional love? Then it behooves us, and the onus lies on us, to do the same for others. This is His commandment and it is the new commandment.
“and a ‘man’s enemies will be those of his own household” - Matthew 10:36 (NKJV)
Since one’s enemies will be those of his own household (not someone else’s), then the enemy here could potentially be our father, mother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, wife, husband, grandparents, nephews, niece, In-laws, friends, church member, pastor, neighbor or even our own children. Whoever the enemy turns out to be, Jesus admonishes us to love them. But the weapon our Father wants us to use to defeat them is the weapon of love!
Some children of God try to fight their perceived enemies using their own strength. They ostracize them, think little of them, quarrel with them, punish them, and/or refuse to associate with them. In such times when we fall short, we are refusing to use the weapon God has given us to wage spiritual war. This negative approach by some children of God results in divisions in families, churches, and communities.
One may ask, How, then, can we show love to our enemies?
“If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the Lord will reward you.”
- Proverbs 25:21-22, Romans 12:20 (NKJV)
Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to see and appreciate Your love for me. Help me to abound in Your love that I may extend Your love to others and love them unconditionally just as You have loved me. I know that, with You, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Thank you for loving me and giving me the grace to love others, even my enemies. in Jesus Name, Amen!
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