So welcome back.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in thought and prayer about what to say…and how to say it. But I think my best form of communication is open writing, that is, without exactly putting any borders or restrictions on it. So here goes.
We have completely forgotten John 13:34 as Americans.
Sure, there are plenty of people who have taken this verse to heart and are practicing the active love of Jesus to their fellow man on a daily basis. But based on recent events, I can’t help but think we as Americans as a whole have completely lost the meaning of this verse.
Between laws that do nothing but give people the right to discriminate against other Americans based on who they love to police officers resorting to violence in situations that should never call for it, we are lost.
We have stopped believing that God is in control of our world, of our situations. When I saw this Religious Freedom Restoration Act get passed in Indiana, I couldn’t help but wonder what these business owners think about God’s influence in this world. If you believe that everything happens for a reason, then how could you not believe that God knows what he’s doing when he sends a gay couple to your bakery? Isn’t it possible that he wants to both teach you something and teach them something about love? I’m pretty sure He is not putting these people in your business and life just so you can deny them something that would make them happy…to teach them a lesson…to stand on a principle.
The veil was torn.
Seeing the video of Walter Scott being gunned down in cold blood makes my own blood run cold. I cannot imagine any situation outside of Scott firing on the officer that would cause anyone to think shooting someone 8 times in the back is what they should be doing. And yet…there are still those who think the fault somehow lies with Scott, that because he had outstanding warrants for his arrest or that he had a record that he was somehow complicit in this.
Yes, he ran away. He resisted arrest. These were his crimes. Nothing he did warranted his execution. The officer who murdered Scott will hopefully be found guilty and will spend the rest of his life in a prison. The God I love will forgive him. But sometimes we are absolutely nowhere.
Allow me to break this down for you.
John 13:34 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
First…Jesus says “a new command”. Command is defined as “an authoritative order”. Jesus is giving us an order. And anyone who has served in the military or police will tell you that when you receive an order, it’s wrong to even think about not obeying it.
Secondly, the command is to “Love one another”. But how are we to love one another? Jesus goes on…he says “as I have loved you…”
The ultimate form of love is sacrificial love. Laying down one’s life for another. Jesus did this for us. And as Christ followers, we are called to do this for the people in our lives and the people in the world. No, we’re not called to martyr ourselves (usually) but we are to put the needs of others above our own.
Thirdly, Jesus says something important at the end of the verse… “…so you must love one another.” This overrides the laws we know of because Jesus says “you must love”.
You must love.
I can’t, you say.
I know…but you must.
If you call yourself a Christ follower, you must love one another.
Not judge. Not discriminate. Not murder them in cold blood. Not think you’re better than them.