February 21 – Love Each Other

Thursday, February 21, 2013

February 21 – Love Each Other

“This is my command: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12, 17).

My sister, Carol, has a lot of rules for her classroom.  Now, this isn't hers, but it is a list of fairly common rules for good classroom etiquette. I particularly like the rule about keeping your hands and feet to yourself. I remember that being a problem when we were on long car trips. There was a line we couldn't cross without bringing down the wrath of Mom.

We each have established rules for how our families interact at home, in public and even when no one is around to see our behavior.  When I was growing up, my mother’s list of proper manners when eating seemed immense, yet I am always grateful for her insistence on good behavior and I am often surprised at how little that was an aspect of other’s childhood instructions.

There are rules for everything we do. Rules for sports ensure that everyone has the same advantage. There are rules for performing music, so that the composer’s intentions come through even if the piece is performed hundreds of years after it was written. There are rules for grammar and there are rules for learning other languages.

It seems as if there are rules for everything we do in life.  Some are understood, others are spelled out succinctly.

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, His response was unsettling to his listeners and here in John 15, He continues to explain what He meant.  He had one rule … one commandment.  We are to love.

We are to love each other, we are to love God.

In John 15:12, Jesus says we are to love each other as He loved us.  All of a sudden we are responsible to everyone else as Jesus made himself responsible to us.

I will repeat myself over and over again. We are not to limit our love to those with whom we agree or those who already love us or those who are clean and easy to love.  We are to love as Jesus loved us.  That’s a sacrificial love.

When Jesus asked the young man to give up everything in order to follow him, that young man panicked. It was too much.  Jesus asks us to give up our self centeredness and reach out to love everyone, no matter who they are, because that is how He loves.