Good news, everyone! Jesus gave us a new commandment. John 13:34: "I give you a new commandment—to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." Okay, big deal. Isn't that the point of Christianity? Don't they say that EVERY week at church? So, love one another. Cool. Got it. But don't stop reading yet...
Loving others may not be as easy as you think. For one thing, how do we love one another? How do I show my love? Maybe in order to follow God's law, I have to go around smothering everyone around me in romantic kisses. Does that sound right? No? Can I get props for a nice try though?
Ephesians 5:2 says to "walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." God is love (1 John 4:8). The Father (God), the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit are one in the same (Deuteronomy 6:4). Therefore, Jesus is God. Therefore, Jesus is perfect. Therefore, how He showed His love is the perfect example of showing our love as Christians today.
So how can we be like Jesus? Forgive others of their wrongs against you (Ephesians 4:32). Refuse to be silent about injustices (Romans 12:21). Stand up for the poor and the defenseless (1 John 3:17-18). Don't let anyone use the Bible to justify their sins (Psalm 119:16). Put your neighbor above yourself and your own needs (Matthew 22:39); in fact, you should outdo everyone in showing honor (Romans 12:10). If people seem to be struggling, or they're having doubts, or their dealing with a loss, don't let them suffer. Our God above loves them, and it's up to YOU to show them that.
The most obvious way to follow God's love is written by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." So, therefore, be patient. Be kind. Don't envy. Don't boast. Don't be proud. Don't dishonor others. Do not be self-seeking or easily angered. Keep no record of—okay, I'll stop. I think you get the point.
Earlier in Corinthians, Paul tells us, in perhaps the most poignant verse in the whole Bible: "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
Without love, your works are nothing. Without love, your faith is nothing. Without love, you are nothing. (Hmm... You are Nothing sounds like the name of a death metal song. Go figure.)
I leave you all with a line from Romans 13:8, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another..." Amen.
Cactus is a teen who, in his spare time, enjoys writing, listening to bands no one has ever heard of, and creating assorted wavelengths of random sound particles that ALMOST resemble real music. He is also fluent in the languages of English, sarcasm, and gibberish.