34“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Everything has something that sets it apart, some kind of identifier that indicates what you are. When I think of a dog I think of four legs and a tail, maybe a bark. There is no doubt that it is a dog. When I see an animal in a tree with wings and a beak sitting in a nest it does not take a whole lot of thought to know that it is a bird. Christians have one of those things too, Christ said that there would be a mark. That there would be an identifier. He said when the average person meets you they will know that you are a follower of Jesus by your LOVE for one another.
I recently heard a story of a man that was giving a tour of the old cathedrals over in england. He pointed out a very interesting piece of history. There were little holes that were cut into the sides of the churches. They were called squint holes. These were for the lepers. We would not allow them into the church but we did want them to hear the word of God so we gave them a hole in the wall to look through. There are some times in the history of the church that are not our favorites to look back on for sure. I think most would say that we have come a long way sense then, but have we?
I was recently meeting with a young man that I care about deeply and he told me he wore some jeans to his church the other day. This is a church that he has gone to for a long while now. Up until this point he had always dressed up, as was the custom there I suppose. But he happened to have some jeans this one time. He told me that he was getting the most obviously annoyed looks. He felt so separated, maybe even hated, over the pants he wore to church. Are we really so different than we have been before?
Romans 2: 17-24 talks about religious people that said they believed one thing and would teach people one thing, and then do another. Because of this the the bible says in Romans 2:24 ” the name of God is blasphemed among the nation”.
Is this not what we see today? Do we not see the name of God slandered by people that call themselves Christians but are full of hate, pride, selfishness, judgment. If you were to ask any person who does not know the Lord to describe a Christian today most would use those same words to describe one. What is happening? Pole after Pole after Pole has been taken and Christians have been studied and they find that there is no difference between the world and the Church for the most part.
The gospel is a story of Love in action. Its a story about the power of Love. Love drove Jesus to live the way He did. God didn’t have to come. He didn’t have to suffer and save us. But he loved us, so He was driven to live like He loved. You cant love and not live it, just like you can quit breathing and not die. Love demands and action. What would happen if we started loving the world by a life that we live. If we started loving like Jesus does. We could change the way the world views the church. People would be drawn to the church instead of scared of it.
Is there a desire within you to love people? To love the people that most would deem disgusting. To hug a needle junky? I’m convinced that if Jesus were walking the earth in the flesh today He would be in a crack house, hugging the shamed and addicted. Feeding the homeless. Look at the gospels! Jesus was close to the broken and hurting. He still is.
A very important questions we can ask ourselves is this “what does the world around me, see in me?” According to Jesus, they should be seeing the LOVE of God. Love some one today. Show some one the Love of God for by this they will know you are HIS disciple and he gets so much glory for that. He is so worth it.