You said a mouthful, Lord, when You were just hours away from Your suffering and death on the Cross.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Why is this so hard for us, Lord? I’m not talking about those who don’t know You. I’m talking about us, Your sons and daughters — the very ones to whom You issued this command. Why is it so hard for us to love each other, Lord? Is it because we can’t… or because we won’t?
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
We don’t get what we want or think we deserve. Disappointment breeds discontent and grows into resentment. We don’t have what someone else has and we are jealous of their good fortune… thinking it should have been ours.
Someone says or does something (or fails to say or do something) and we are affected. We don’t understand what happened, but we don’t reach out to find out. If we do reach out, without success, we fill the gaps in our understanding with worst case scenarios.
Someone lets us down and we take offense, assuming the worst. We think it’s the other’s fault, so they have to make the first move. If they don’t, we won’t. The separation solidifies… so does our heart. We claim we forgive, but we never forget.
Oh, Lord… These are just a few of the thousands of scenarios that play out every day. If only we could love at each of these junctures! If only we would purpose to love each other — even when others fail us or hurt us or ignore us or mistreat us… the way You purposed to love us, Lord, all the way to the Cross.
How different everything would be — our lives, our relationships and our impact for You!
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
Are we just inclined to take the “easy” way out? The path of least resistance? A wolf in sheep’s clothing, since that path only increases our resistance against each other. No… the answer can’t be found in imaginary magic pills or silver bullets. Just old-fashioned blood, sweat and tears.
“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27)
Wouldn’t it be easier to scale Mt. Everest, Lord?
“Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25)
Maybe it’s like that wonderful parable about the man walking on a beach after a storm. He saw someone in the distance bending down, then throwing something into the sea. When he drew close, he saw that hundreds of starfish had been washed up onto the beach during the storm. The man he had seen was picking up starfish, one-by-one, and throwing them back into the sea in an effort to save them. He chastised the man: “There are hundreds of starfish here! You can’t possibly make a difference!” The man picked up another starfish, threw it back in the water and said, “I made a difference to that one.” Now, both men were rescuing starfish.
One choice — one victory — at a time. Genuine Love. Unmistakable Love. Irresistible Love. Contagious Love.
The Power of One.