At a time when some Christians are turning against each other for political reasons, why not go back to the basics of Jesus’ message? Let’s relearn how to love one another as He has shown us.
Let’s love the lost, as Christ loved them. Jesus is the Son of God, He could have come as judge and exercised the wrath of His Father towards everyone’s sins. But no, Jesus showed compassion day in and day out for all who needed a Savior. “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11 NIV). Jesus brought healing to the sick, food to the hungry, deliverance to those oppressed by demons. He took the time to listen to their needs, answer their questions, and guide them to God. He went so far as to give His own life to save us. Let us love like Him.
Let’s love our brothers and sisters, as Christ instructed us to do. Jesus encouraged us to share our time and our possessions to build up other children of God. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38 NIV). This is what the first church did, taking care of the poorest among them. But loving our brothers and sisters can also come through exhortation. “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over” (Matthew 18:15 NIV).
Let’s give love to our governments, as Christ demonstrated. Even living under an oppressive regime, Jesus followed the rules to the point where even Pilate had nothing to complain about. He even went above all allegiance to go and heal the servant of a centurion (Luke 7:1-9). After Jesus left, His followers continued in the same direction. Even under the yoke of a mad emperor like Nero, Paul encouraged Christians to obey authorities and pray “for kings and all those in authority” to live a peaceful life as much as possible (1 Timothy 2:2-3 NIV). If we are persecuted by our governments, that they are our enemies, Jesus tells us that we must bless them. “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44 NIV).
Let’s love our spiritual leaders, as Christ portrayed them. For Jesus, a leader after God’s heart is a servant. “But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves” (Luke 22:26 NIV). Let us be grateful for these leaders who serve us and care for us, as the early apostles recommended. “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you” (Hebrews 13:17 NIV). Let’s stop complaining and start loving instead.
And let us not forget to love ourselves, as Christ commanded. “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV). Just as we must show compassion for others, so must we also have compassion for ourselves and give ourselves the right to make mistakes. As we must exhort our brothers and sisters who are going in the wrong direction, we must seek to improve ourselves in all things and not stay in the wrong direction out of pride. We need to take care of the temple that God has given us and invest in our relationship with God, who is the center of our existence.