Jesus said, “…Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35, NIV. The emphasis is mine.)
How does Jesus love me? First of all, He sacrificially gave His life for me even before I loved Him. And now that I’m His child through faith in Him, He forgives all my sins when I ask Him to, and He understands all my frailties. He looks past all the junk in my life and sees and encourages my potential. He’s patient with me and gives me truth in small doses, as I’m ready. He’s sensitive to my moods and feelings. He addresses my questions patiently and calmly. He doesn’t argue over non-essentials. In fact, I’ve found that when I get argumentative about anything with Him, He just becomes silent until I’m more receptive. Meanwhile, He continues to intercede for me. That’s a good role model for me to follow when someone gets argumentative with me. Be quiet but continue to compassionately pray for them!
Jesus said the way people will know we’re His followers is by our love for one another. Before we reach out to non-believers, we need to search our own hearts. How are we doing at loving difficult to love people? Anyone can love a person who’s nice to them. We don’t need Jesus for that. His supernatural power is seen when we genuinely love those who aren’t nice to us or have personality traits we don’t appreciate. Jesus told us to “…take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. “(Matthew 7:5, NIV) When we find ourselves being critical of someone, that’s a good time to ask Jesus to shed His light on our own hearts. I want Jesus to use me to help others, but first I have to allow Him to cleanse my own heart. It is my daily prayer that He will reveal my sins to me and cleanse me of them.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10, NIV) Amen!
P.S. The Bible says: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18, NIV. The emphasis is mine.) We’re only responsible for our own attitudes and behaviors, not those of others.