Love one another

1 John 3:11-24   For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.  By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.  By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

Love is more than a word.  It’s more than a feeling.  Love is a constant decision, an intentional abandonment of selfish desires for the sake of someone else’s good.  Love requires something beyond what we can manage in our own human condition.

The thing about real love is that it’s so different from anything we’ve been conditioned to recognize that most of us don’t even know how it works.  We think love just means we tell someone nice things or that we give some gifts.  But true love is sacrifice, and sometimes that means it hurts.  Sinful humans don’t want to hurt for someone else, so it’s not our inclination to love truly.  Only the Holy Spirit working in and through us can enable us to love others like Jesus said to.

Love others like you love yourself?  How is that possible?  Or how about this one?  Husbands, love your wives like Christ loved the Church and gave His life for her.  Any one of you loving like that?  It’s what we’re commanded to do.  No less.

We’re not doing anyone any good if we’re just saying we love.  We’re not providing a good witness for Christ, nor are we having any effect on people’s lives for the kingdom.  We’re just talking.  And talk isn’t enough.  Love.  Love truly.  Give of yourself for the sake of others.