How Do We Love One Another?
John 13:34 quotes Jesus as saying, “Love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another.” So how do we love one another, especially those who have hurt us deeply, and those who we despise because of their wrong sense of values and the wrong things that they do to others? This aspect of loving is not real easy. While loving the people who show you love is easy, we also have to love all the others with no exceptions.
First we have to learn how to forgive. We can never have the capacity to love until we recognize ourselves as sinners and forgive others, just as in the parable of the servant who was forgiven by his master. By forgiving, we don’t necessarily mean forgetting how we got hurt. If a person hurts us deeply, then we should forgive them. As we befriend them again we either take different steps in order to avoid further confrontation or don’t allow them chances of hurting us the same way anymore for practical reasons. That’s where the part of not forgetting comes along. Not forgetting doesn’t mean we keep tabs of one another’s wrongdoings in such a way that ill feelings are stored in each incident. There shouldn’t be any ill feeling left once you forgive a person. You are just remembering the way you got hurt so that you can avoid getting hurt in the future, and not for any other reason. This is the reason why I don’t believe is starting all over from scratch. There can be no scratch, for one is bound to get hurt again if the same road is taken. We are not called to be martyrs. As long as we treat one another with genuine passion (and not deadly passion!!!), respect, and no ill feelings or resentments, there is love.
We have no control over emotions, but we have control over our actions, such as acting in love. When Jesus preached to us about loving one another, He didn’t mean through our emotions, but through our thoughts actions and gestures. It is difficult for most of us to love the people who hurt us because we tend to rely on our emotions when we love rather than being committed to love unconditionally, like Jesus. This is also a reason for the many break-ups in relationships. We rely on the feelings of romance. There’s a big difference!! We shouldn’t rely on our emotions completely, but we should rather be committed to our promise of loving one another through acts of love. The emotional part is just a secondary thing that boosts you up, and can destroy you if you rely too much on it.
Loving others also involves being bold and guiding others to His ways. When we see a person do something wrong, we should take the opportunity to encourage the person to do the right thing, for we don’t want to have a lost brother or sister in Christ, as in a lost sheep among the flock as Jesus pointed out. This part is hard, for we have to find the right time, and the right place to speak to the brother or sister in Christ. God provides you with everything you need when you are sincere with others.
The challenge that Jesus gave us is great and not an easy feat, for He did say “it is easy for a camel to enter into the eye of a needle rather than a rich man entering the gates of Heaven.” This indicates great sacrifice on our part as we strive to love one another.
When we act on love towards the people who we don’t feel we should love or pay attention to, it feels fake at first, but as we do it constantly, God provides us the tools we need so that eventually it becomes a natural feeling. We will never know what really love is until we have really tried it. It is a beautiful feeling that overcomes you no matter what situations you’re faced against. Once we have God’s graces, we become at peace with everything in everything that we do.