A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
People talk about loving one another as if deciding to do it was all it took. But the truth is, some people are hard for us to love—those who have hurt us or our families, those who do horrible things to people, those who oppose us and what we stand for. We can think of a lot of reasons why someone might be unworthy of our love. But the people around us are not our enemies, though they oppose us, do evil, or hate us. And loving them is not just a suggestion for believers on how to live a better Christian life, it is a command from the Lord.
But if we look at Christ’s example, we will see that loving another person has nothing to do with who the other person is, but it has everything to do with who we are. He didn’t tell us to only love the people who love us back, because He loved us before we knew Him. He didn’t tell us to only love those who are easy to love, because He loved us when we were worthless, dirty sinners. He didn’t tell us to love only if we can get something in return, because He gave everything for those He loves.
We are to love others as Christ loves us, because we can understand the inequality of that love—how much He gives and how little we deserve. Being on the receiving end of that kind of love teaches us an important lesson in compassion. It almost breaks us completely to dive into that sea of unconditional love knowing who we are and what we’ve done and where we’ve gone and what we’ve said and the kinds of thoughts we’ve had. And instead of nearly drowning and coming up sputtering and gasping for air, we end up refreshed and renewed and at peace. And what a feeling it is to be loved like that.
Can we love others like that? On our own, we can’t. In our selfish, judgmental, hard-hearted state, we could not love as Jesus loves. But when He is our Savior, when He is molding us into His image, when we are allowing Him to work in and through us, then we can love like He does because it’s Him loving through us. And there is power in that love, and there righteousness in it, and it works in people’s lives and it changes everything. So let’s obey Jesus’ command. Let’s love like He does so that others may experience His love for themselves.