“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this, all men will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another.”(John 13:34-35)
Jesus was a revolutionary. He didn’t overthrow the political establishment, but He turned the spiritual world upside down. In the culture of His day, people lived by the law of retaliation which is commonly stated as an eye for an eye. This principle says that an injured person has the right to retaliate to the same extent as the offense. Jesus, though, told His followers that He had a different law. Forgive your enemies.
In the final week, before He was killed, Jesus gave instructions to His men and His directive for believers’ relationship with one another was just as revolutionary as His message about enemies. He instructed them “to love one another, as I have loved you.” We can imagine the power of that statement to men who had been with Jesus for over 3 years. They had seen Him overlook a thousand offenses, they had watched Him forgive a thousand sarcastic remarks, and they had witnessed Him return kindness for coldness a thousand times. Suddenly, they realized He was telling them to love one another with the same patience, forgiveness, and kindness He had shown towards them countless times.
Loving people comes down to choices. When we’re tempted to compete with people to show were superior, to compare ourselves to others, or to engage in petty jealousies and gossip, we need to stop, think about the way Jesus loved, and choose a different course. Love doesn’t happen because we use flowery words or express good intentions. It becomes real in our difficult choices every day.