Love Each Other

John 15:17
This is my command: Love each other.
Summer is hot! Since the heat sometimes makes us a little cranky, it’s so easy to become selfish during the summer months. I wanna go to the beach. I want ice cream. I’m gonna watch TV all day.

We should take a moment and remember what is important. The reason we’re in our families is so we can bring our gifts into the mix. We can share with others the things we do well and enjoy blessing those around us.

As a parent, I try to raise my kids to love each other. I want to know that they’ll grow up enjoying each other, not trying to get each other back for something one has done to the other. Unforgiveness can be overcome with love. Crankiness can be overcome with love.

When I read John 15:17, I picture Jesus telling his guys that these three words are too important to overlook. It’s not chit-chat. It’s a command. Love each other. I can even picture his face. I’m sure his words carried power that vibrated in each of their bodies. I’m sure his face was gentle, but so serious that no one would dare take his words for granted.

God’s love is a powerful weapon against darkness. If you’re on the side of hate and fighting against someone whose weapon is God’s love, your surrender turns a loser into a winner. When you give in to love, you’ve won more than you could realize. That moment of loss opens the eyes of the loser and helps him see the real power of love.

With practice, anyone can become proficient with this weapon. But it takes discipline.

Love each other. It’s a command that heals wounds and makes friends out of enemies.

Friends

John 15:14
You are my friends if you do what I command.
My husband and I celebrated a milestone anniversary this year. He and I have a lot of years invested in our relationship. We met when I was in seventh grade. We became friends in our church youth group and did a lot together in our large group.

I like reading books and seeing movies where friends turn to each other and fall in love. I have a long list of favorite movies, but two on the list are Gigi and Sabrina (with Harrison Ford). In these two movies, the hero has been around the heroine long enough to know her really well. Over time, their relationship changes, and he realizes that she’s the only one who could make him happy.

Since I’ve experienced a relationship like that, I want to encourage all couples to be friends first. I know how stabilizing that kind of a relationship is. A friendship is even important to God.

Jesus, knowing what he was about to do for his friends, gave them a command to love each other as he has loved them. That apparently wasn’t strong enough for them to really understand what he meant. The next verse was stronger. He told them, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Few people would willingly lay down their lives for strangers or even neighbors they’d barely met. I think a man would more likely sacrifice his life for his friends. If I had only gone on one date with my husband instead of marrying him, he wouldn’t give up his life for me. The deepening of our relationship over time has created such a closeness between us that I would believe my husband’s words if he ever told me that he’d lay down his life for me.

Once the disciples heard this life-threatening commitment of love, they understood what he meant when he said, “You are my friends if you do what I command.”

Will you accept that kind of friendship with God? Tell him.