John wrote these words to believers in Jesus, followers of The Way. His letter gave instruction and encouragement, and it is quite relevant to us today.
Jesus said that the watching world would know His true followers by their love for one another (John 13:34-35).
There are at least 59 times when that phrase “one another” is used in the New Testament. It’s pretty important that we who are followers of Jesus as Savior and Lord understand and obey them. There are ramifications beyond how we think and feel when we make the choice to love other believers.
Simply put, we who call Jesus Savior are to love others who call Jesus Savior. And that love is to be real and tangible. Seen. Felt.
Cool. I’m to love other believers and help them. Got it.
Wait! What does that look like? Is it just meeting needs? Patting their hands when things are tough? Or is it more?
We can look at 1 Corinthians 13 for Paul’s personification of love, but I think we must look to God for the true example. We like to look at love as all the help and compassion, but we forget the discipline and correction part. Scripture tells us that a loving father disciplines his children. Throughout history, God instructed his children, corrected them, and if they refused to obey, He disciplined them. Sometimes harshly.
Our love for one another can be no different. Galatians 6:1 tells Christians to gently and humbly restore that person who is caught up in sin. See, sin separates us from God. Never from His love, but from His presence. When we are living in unrepentant sin, we are separated from Him, His help, and His protection. We need to be restored to Him. Praise Him for His mercy and grace that reaches out offering that restoration when we agree with Him about those sins, forgiving us and cleansing us from the stain of them (1 John 1:9).
Galatians 6:1 places a responsibility on all believers. We are to love our fellow believers by noticing what’s going on in their lives. If we see sin living there, we’re to call it out – but NEVER in condemnation (Romans 8:1). It is always to be with an eye to restoring that one to their relationship with God in Christ Jesus.
If I truly love you, I will not let you remain on the death-filled path of sin you’re on. I will do all I can to bring you back to the fold of the Good Shepherd, back into His presence. If I don’t do this, I don’t love you.
See, love is more than making sure you eat or are comfortable. It’s making sure that when you stray, I gently and humbly work to walk you back to the path of the One who loves us both more than we can comprehend.
That’s not comfortable love, but it is most definitely real and honest. It’s dangerous and radical. It’s Jesus.
Let’s choose today to love other believers well. Let’s build relationships with those who love the Lord regardless of color, denomination, or church attendance record. Let’s have open conversations about what we’re learning about Him in His Word and allow one another to speak truth into our lives, always, ALWAYS with the aim of helping each other remain in God’s presence instead of alone on a path that doesn’t lead to Him.
EXTRA NOTE: How do we know the person is actually a believer and that we’re to love them? They don’t always ACT like they follow Jesus. One question: Do YOU always act like you follow Jesus? Be honest. Have you read the parable of the wheat and tares? Boil it down to this: if the person says they are a believer, accept that and love them. Let God sort that out. He’s much better qualified.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.
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