Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The ONE distinguishing mark

[FROM 2/23/12]

"I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
(John 13:34-35)

It's not whether we wear a cross around our necks... or have a "fish" bumper sticker on our car... or the size of the church we attend... or whether we carry around a bible in our backpack (or have a Bible app on our smartphone)... or listen to a certain kind of music.  The one & only mark that Jesus says is THE INDICATION that we're following him, is if we love one another.

One way of looking at this is seeing it as a call to love everyone, everywhere.  That's not what I want to focus on in this reflection, though.  I want to focus on the perspective of "loving one another" within the church.  Not just the one particular church we happen to attend.  Not just the denomination our church is a part of, either.  But all Christians.  Everywhere.

Too often we say and do things to "distinguish" us from other believers.  Usually it involves some kind of judgmental statement on how they're so different from us.  According to Jesus, there's no place for that.  LOVE ONE ANOTHER.  Genuine, authentic, down-to-earth love.  For all Christians.  No jealousies.  No "I can't believe they call themselves believers."  No theological righteous indignation.  Just love.  Period.

Now, should we (or any other Christians) sin... wait, reverse... WHEN we sin, we need to be held accountable (and hopefully, with repentance, forgiven!).  Loving one another does not equal blessing everything ever said and done.  But love should be the foundation, the bedrock, the first response form our heart.

To all my brothers and sisters in the faith, forgive me for all the times I've failed to respond to you in genuine love.  I pray God will continue to refine and reshape my heart to be more and more like Jesus.

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