Loving One Another – Gospel Reflection on John 13:34
A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. -John 13:34
This is the Lord Jesus’ requirement of us. We should love one another, be tolerant and patient, and help each other. In the past, I thought that loving brothers and sisters is helping them as much as I possibly can when they have difficulties in life. Not until I read some of God’s words did I understand that mutual love is not shown through external formalities to our brothers and sisters but through help in our spiritual lives. God says, “These relationships aren’t established on the flesh, but on the foundation of God’s love. There are almost no interactions based on the flesh, but in the spirit there is fellowship as well as love, comfort, and provision for one another. This is all done on the foundation of a heart that satisfies God. These relationships aren’t maintained by relying on a human philosophy of life, but they are formed very naturally through the burden for God. They don’t require human effort—they are practiced through the principles of the word of God.” From God’s words I realize that true love for brothers and sisters is from heart and established on the foundation of God’s love, we love brothers and sisters because we love God. This love is not expressed in the material assistance we provide but in the assistance and support in our spiritual lives. When brothers and sisters have difficulties in life and are negative and weak in spirit, we can help and support them voluntarily to let them feel God’s love and understand God’s will, so that they can obtain spiritual nourishment to be strong and regain faith in God.
In real life, sometimes we will push the Lord’s words to the back of our minds. We often fixate our eyes on others’ flaws and shortcomings, and always compare our strengths to other people’s weaknesses. It is okay for us to get along with others for a few days. But after a long time, when we see others’ shortcomings, we come to feel disgusted, thinking that they are hard to get along with. As a result, we can’t get along well with most people. Just as when some brothers and sisters have done some ignorant things because they are weak, we generate resentment or complaint toward them, and don’t help them with a loving heart. Sometimes if their words hurt us, we will have a grudge against them and be stewing instead of practicing tolerance and patience; and so on. These are expressions of having no normal humanity. If we get along with others in this way, gradually we will hold secrets in our hearts, remain friendly in appearance but estranged at heart. As a consequence, we will have no normal interpersonal relationships.
If a brother sins against us, we get angry at once and cannot tolerate him. At the time we need to come in front of God and pray to Him, “Oh, God! The brother’s words have hurt me, and they are too difficult to bear. I feel so annoyed that I neither want to talk to him nor want to forgive him. But I know that this is not in keeping with Your will. Please help and guide me to live by Your word, so that I can put down my grudge against him and live in front of You.” After our prayer, we ponder: How should I treat him to be after God’s heart? God says, “Whether you have truly renounced the flesh, depends on whether you are prejudiced toward your brothers and sisters, and on whether, if you are, you can push such prejudices aside. … you will not loathe them, despise them, make fun of them, or give them the cold shoulder. If you are able to be of service to them, you will commune with them….” When we carefully examine why we always hold biases against others, we will find the reason is that we are too arrogant. We only allow others to speak or do something beneficial to us, but if what they do affect our interests, we will develop prejudices toward them and can’t exercise patience and tolerance. When we practice according to God’s word, take the initiative to open up our own corruption to them, and communicate our own experience and knowledge, they will also recognize the truth that they should practice and enter into. As such, we all live in front of God depending on His word, and also become tolerant and patient for brothers and sisters. Then gradually we can love each other and be in normal relationships.
- Extended Reading:
- How to Help and Support Brothers and Sisters in Christ: 3 Principles