Jesus said that the way to show people that we love God is by loving each other (John 13:35). I find it interesting that Jesus did NOT say, “people will know that you are mine by the way you love ME …” rather He said, “they’ll know you love ME by the way you love THEM.” That seems a little more difficult! God is easy to love—but our family? Our friends? Our neighbors? They aren’t always so easy to love!
Loving Each Other as Worship
God knows this! Jesus knew it when He spoke those words. While I don’t believe He expects perfection from us—we are human after all—I think we can learn about His character when we seek to apply this truth to our lives. He LOVES us! He loved us first. The Bible says even when we were still wallowing in our sin, Jesus died for us. God so LOVED the world (US and ALL the other people He calls us to love) that He gave us Jesus, to die for our sins, to redeem us, to restore us! THAT is LOVE!!! He says when we love each other, we are obeying and honoring and worshipping HIM.
So, how can we do it? How can we worship God by loving each other, even when it’s hard? When I was growing up, one thing my parents encouraged my sisters and me to do was to say something nice about the person next to us at the dinner table. A deceptively simple task! There were many evenings when we’d had an argument and sat at the table with our arms crossed, angry, holding a grudge, silent. In those moments we often just said, “I can’t think of ANYTHING!” Eventually, tempers cooled, inevitably someone laughed, and we each thought of at least ONE nice thing to say!
This practice helps create awareness that we are each unique, with differing gifts. The nice thing you say about one person will be different from the nice thing you say about another. By doing so, we are reminded that we’re each made in the image of God and worth HIS love.
When we love, forgive, speak kindly to and, are generous with each other, we are honoring and worshipping God. We can do it because we trust that WE are LOVED by HIM.
Every day this month, as an act of worship, find a time to affirm each other. Remind your family how much God loves each one of them. Share with them that Jesus died for them. Then, encourage family members to look each other in the eye and speak loving words of truth. After practicing this within your home, begin to look outside your family for others who might be encouraged by your loving words. Remind them that showing love to others is how the world will know we are disciples of Jesus.
“… everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”