Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Knowing God - John 13:34

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you,
you also should love one another.
John 13:34
The first time  that "new" is mentioned in the Gospel of John is in terms of a New Commandment: Love One Another!
How many people do you know who think of Christianity as legalistic? Pharisees -- including you and me from time to time -- can easily turn religion into legalism. But Jesus proclaimed something wonderful and new! And it's the overwhelming principal behind all of the laws.
Think of the ten chief commands declared on Sinai. If we love one another, are we going to be stealing from them? bearing false witness against them? abusing or murdering them? No! And only in the most twisted sense would anyone ever pretend that loving one another justifies adultery.
Rather, if we simply and consistently loved, God's law would never be a burden ... just a reminder of the life and blessing which God wants to bestow on each of our lives.
That's pretty basic, right?
So let's put it into action. Who's the person you have most trouble loving? Loving the unlovable might be a powerful New Year's resolution. Why? Because if we can learn to love our public enemy number one, then maybe that will extend to loving others too and transforming US one relationship at a time.
In Christ's Love,
a guy who wants to be a love machine
(but NOT in terms
of the crass old image from the 70s;
rather, looking more like Mother Theresa
whom even a sex-addicted world
acknowledged as a love machine) 
Who do I have the most trouble loving? Myself. Multiple times a day I catch myself thinking, "I hate myself."

However, I find it so easy to love others. To serve them. To care for them.

On the legalism front - I was raised in a very legalistic church. And guilt is very easy to come by. If I am given a task and don't complete it perfectly - guilt swallows me. If I let someone down ... or think I let someone down ... again - swallowed by guilt. If I think I was supposed to do something but them don't do it because I know I'll mess it up - guilt.
And then hating myself ... guilt. Not loving myself as Jesus did ... guilt.

Is it worth it to keep trying? To live mired in guilt. hate. loathing? (relax - just questions I'm pondering.)

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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