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  • Writer's pictureTrey Talley

Strengthening relationships and the church

Updated: Feb 17

What Does Your Love of Others Reveal About You?

34A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)

Comment: The command of Christ to love one another is so high that it becomes THE identifying mark of true Christianity.

Christ says that this love is so categorically different from the way the world loves that it reveals to you that you are not one of them.

So, what is it that differentiates the way the world loves and the way Christians love?

Question: Did you deserve Christ’ love?

Answer: No.

Question: So how should Christians apply this to others?

Answer: People should not have to earn your love either.

Question: Did you love Christ first, which caused Christ to love you?

Answer: No, in fact, Christ loves you first.

Question: How do you apply this aspect of Christ’s love to others?

Answer: Don’t wait to be loved before you will love. Be the first to initiate.

Question: Does Christ’s love for you change based on the reciprocation of your love?

Answer: No. It is immutable/unchanging, even when our love for Him fluctuates.

Question: What requirements do you demand of others before you will love them as Christ loved you?

Answer: If anything comes to mind, you may find that the way that you are loving others is not revealing Christianity to the world around you.

Apply this to all of your Christian relationships:

Are you loving your spouse as Christ loved you?

Are you loving your friends as Christ loved you?

Are you loving fellow church members as Christ loved you?

Forgiveness and Love Strengthen One Another:

32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

Comment: Similar to Christ’s command for us to love one another as He has loved us, in this passage Paul says that we are to forgive as Christ has forgiven us.

Question: Why would you need to forgive someone?

Answer: Because they have done something unloving to you.

Question: What are you supposed to do when this happens? Retaliate, withhold love, gossip, slander, malign, or stonewall?

Answer: No, you are to forgive as Christ has forgiven you.

This is where your Christlike love will really be tested. Most often, Christlike love is not revealed to the world when you are being loved perfectly. It is easy to love others when they love you perfectly. Even the world can do that.

How Love and Forgiveness Keep Relationships Going:

48Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:48)

Comment: In this passage, Peter does not say that because they are all Christians, they will never do or say anything wrong to one another. In fact, he says the opposite.

Question: How should being sinned against affect your love for a fellow Christian?

Answer: Peter says to keep loving earnestly despite the wrongdoing. The more you love, the more you will forgive, and the more you forgive, the more you will love.

Summary: Love one another as Christ has loved you. Forgive one another as Christ has forgiven you. Keep on doing this and your personal relationships and our church will be strengthened.

Dr. Trey Talley, Lead Pastor and Elder

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