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Three Simple Words

Love one another. Three simple words, yet how difficult they are to live by. “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another,” proclaims Jesus as he shares a final meal with his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion (John 13:34).

Though the command seems clear enough, some may ask, “How do I love others when I am challenged to love members of my own family? How can I love people who don’t think like me, look like me, or live like me? How am I supposed to love them?”

Like it or not, the mandate to “love one another” compels Christians to confront the messiness of our own lives and to look deep within as we name and claim whatever prevents us from loving others just as Jesus loves us.

Sometimes the answer appears clear enough. We tell ourselves, “He is a thief, she is a liar, or they cannot be trusted.” But is that really the reason? Or merely a convenient excuse, yet one more example of how we try to follow Jesus on our terms instead of heeding the call to discipleship on his terms?

Jesus’ command to “love one another” just as I have loved you says it all. There are no excuses or loopholes here. Only three simple words, “LOVE … ONE … ANOTHER.”

To follow Jesus demands that we love as Jesus loves, and that is not easy because Jesus loves all of us. Yes, Jesus loved the people closest to him. But Jesus also loved the fickle crowds questioning if he was the long-awaited Messiah. Jesus loved lepers, soul-sick people, the poor and hungry, Gentiles, Samaritans, and all who were deemed to be “less than” by the religious and political authorities. Jesus even loved Judas, the disciple who betrayed him.

God is calling us, notes theologian Bryan Massingale, “to bother love.” To be bothered by the suffering of those around us. To be bothered enough to reach out in love. To be bothered by the sin and brokenness of the world to resist the sin of apathy and the fallacy of self-sufficiency, and instead to love one another as Jesus loves: freely, enthusiastically, and unreservedly.

In Christ,
Pastor Jon

Tags: Weekly Word