Love One Another

 

 By Dr. Allen P. Ross

The care and concern for one another in the body of Christ is one of those areas of Christianity that is readily acknowledged but seldom pursued.   Our Lord Jesus laid down the command for His followers to love one another: “My command is this: Love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:12,13).

That the kind of love Jesus had in mind is sacrificial love, a love that seeks to help others at one’s own expense, is absolutely clear from the comparison He made.  His love for us cost Him His life–He willingly laid it down for us.  That is the standard of love that is to be followed.  The command to love one another is not a command simply to make friends with everyone, not even to like everyone (some of us are not always likeable), and certainly not merely to treat them with respect or kindness.  It is a call for Christian action.  This kind of love is an act of the will in which the one who loves seeks the best interests of other people even though it may be inconvenient to do so, or costly, or time consuming.  We probably will not be called on to lay down our lives for others, but that is the fullest expression of this kind of love.

It begins with an attitude of love for other Christians–we must look around in the congregation and realize that these are people that Christ so loved that He died for them so that they might be with Him in glory.  It finds expression in action: we must resolve to go out of our way to encourage and help people in whatever way we can. It should be a regular quest to find out who needs encouragement, assistance, or care.  We cannot assume that because everyone is sitting neatly in their pew on Sunday that everything is okay and our job is done.  If we make this a matter of prayer, then God will bring our way opportunities to demonstrate that we love one another.

One thing is very clear in the Bible, and that is what this love is not.  John says, “We should love one another, not like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother” (1 John 3:11,12).  John uses the standard of loving one another as evidence of true faith.  Such love does not destroy a brother.  Unfortunately, too much history of the Christian faith is spotted with people trying to destroy one another, one way or another.  That is of the evil one.

The mark of the Christian is love for one another.  The standard for that love is the pattern of Christ’s love for us.  The motivation for loving one another comes from our love for Christ, for if we love Him we will keep His commandments–and He commanded us to love one another.