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Pastor Christopher Brock

May 18, 2024

John 13:34-35, NLT

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

How many Christians know about this passage of scripture? I would venture to say that the majority of those who have spent time in the faith would be able to at least paraphrase it. However, if we were to review the number of Christians who truly live out and embrace it, we would find a significantly smaller number. For many people, the reason that they do not carry this out can be summed up in one small, yet significant, word—but.


So often when we are told that we need to love others, as this passage says, the very first word that is spoken in response is the word “but”. “But you don’t understand what they did to me? But you don’t understand what they said about me? But you don’t understand how much they hurt me?” The list of reasons could go on and on. We see this same behavior in our children when they interact with each other. We teach them the way they need to act towards their siblings, and inevitably we will hear many excuses as to why they don’t believe the other person deserved to have their love and kindness.


Here is a bit of reality that we all must understand: the way we treat others has nothing to do with the way that we have been treated by others. You have a choice each day and, in each moment, as to how you will treat those who you are in contact with. You can choose to treat them the way that Christ has treated you, or you can choose to allow the world to determine the way you treat them. One thing is for sure, however, when we stand before the Lord to give account for our actions there will be no “buts” that we can give. The Lord will know all that has happened to us, and He will know exactly the way that we reacted to it. I always imagine what it would look like if someone were standing before Him and He asked them how they had shown love to others. The person might respond and say, “Well I wanted to show them love, but they treated me badly and actually hated me and hurt me.” Then the Lord would say, “Yes, I know that, but my question was not how they treated you, but how you treated them.”


This is something that Jesus modeled to us in His life. Even when His life was seemingly coming to an end—even then He still loved those around Him.


“When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.” (Luke 23:33-34, NLT)


Even when the people around Him were killing Him in an excruciatingly painful and hateful way, Jesus still chose love. The next time that someone hurts you, or says something mean to you, or doesn’t treat you in the way that you feel you deserved, remember that you treated Jesus like that. Yet, He loved you so much that He willingly died so that you might be saved. He loves you that much, and it is time for each of us to love others in the same way.

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