Improving Relationships, and the World – John 13:34-35

Choosing to love someone over the long haul–that’s real love. My husband and I attended his cousin’s memorial service last weekend, where we enjoyed a deeper level of unity in the family than we’d experienced before.

It happened at my 40th high school reunion, too. I cared more about my classmates and less about the dumb things that divided us when we were teens. I guess sometimes it takes decades to realize we don’t have to all think the same way, and we can have hundreds of friends.

An acquaintance becomes a friend

If we remembered that, we’d be more careful how we treat each other. The person we see as an enemy may become a good friend one day, if we don’t burn down bridges that connect us and forgive as we are forgiven.

Jesus said,
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 ESV).

How far are you willing to go?

I grew up in a large extended family, and we did a lot of traveling. My first adventure was as a 6-week-old infant when we drove 2,578 miles to visit my grandparents. Before starting first grade I’d logged more than 21k miles on long distance road trips.

By the time my third sibling was old enough to sit upright, we were committed to almost yearly family reunions halfway across the continent.

Love means more than going an extra mile. The results of our prayers and efforts might not be evident immediately. Sometimes love means traveling great distances and waiting decades.

We need to think about this when we’re tempted to trash somebody online, pronounce accusations against other drivers on the road, or judge anyone as being less than us. Even those we may not choose for next door neighbors.

Listen . . .

Three of Jesus’s disciples recorded in the Gospels that God spoke audibly. You won’t see many accounts in Scripture of God doing this, so his message must be extremely important.

God said, “This is my . . . Son . . . Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:51, Mark 9:7, and Luke 9:35 ESV).

What do we hear Jesus say? “Love one another . . .”

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

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