In the Old Testament of the Bible, we are given 10 Commandments that God wishes us to abide by. It is a Covenant with God and creates a standard of moral behavior. This moral compass, given by God, is still important to us as Christians today. There is also a new commandment that was given in the New Testament that signifies the new Covenant after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. This new Covenant is that we are to love one another.
What Does it Mean to Love One Another?
In God’s greatest commandment, He tells us to love one another. Not only that, He also tells us how we are to love others, although it is obvious right away that it isn’t going to be easy.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.JOHN 13:34 (ESV)
According to this scripture, we are to love each other just as God has loved us. That, I have to admit, is a tall order because God’s love is truly unconditional and unfailing. Is it even possible for us to love someone that way when you consider our failings and flaws?
If our focus is consistently on God and what His desire is for our lives, it is important to be constantly striving to love each other. Although we may fail at times, God’s grace and compassion for us is a symbol of the perfection of God’s love.
As we look at the meaning of loving one another, it is important to look at ways we can show love. When you think about showing love to one another, what actions do you think would show God’s love?
4 Ways to Love One Another
1. Give to those in Need
Do you know someone that is struggling to buy food or pay bills? Do you have a surplus that would make it possible to help them? If so, that is exactly what God would have you do.
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?1 JOHN 3:17 (ESV)
The verse above from 1 John is pretty clear about helping those in need. If we see our brother’s need, we are to show compassion and help them. In doing so, we are showing God’s love through our actions.
2. Pray for Each Other
There are many verses about praying for each other and most of them talk about it being a way to love each other. When we pray for someone we are lifting their burdens to God.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.JAMES 5:16 (ESV)
This verse talks about coming together in confession and prayer and it says these prayers will bring about healing. One other verse, Galatians 6:2, says that we are to bear each other’s burdens.
3. Forgive Others
It is impossible to love one another as God loves us without forgiving others. The very foundation of God’s love for us is based on His forgiveness of our sins.
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.LEVITICUS 19:18 (ESV)
God is the only avenger of the wrongs that are done to us. We are supposed to forgive the people that hurt us and leave the punishments to God alone. Forgiving someone is not an easy thing for us flawed beings to accomplish but it is what we are to strive for. This requires us to put self aside and love others in a more Godly manner.
4. Serve Others
Jesus is the greatest example of what it means to serve others. Jesus gave of himself as He ministered to the sick, fed the hungry and loved others. He was the embodiment of God’s love here on Earth. We are meant to use the gift of God’s love to serve others and not for selfish gains.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.GALATIANS 5:13 (ESV)
Do you know someone who is sick? Visit or call them. Do you know someone who is going through a time of grieving? Comfort them. Ask God for guidance and help those who are around you.
Following the commandment to love each other as God loves us is not something that comes easy. I don’t think it is supposed to be. We should always be striving to love one another more and to do so more completely. It isn’t meant to be a destination we arrive at after much practice but rather a slow journey that is life long.
- Be Kind to One Another
- What Kind of Love has God Given Us?
- God’s Love: We All Make Mistakes
- How to Love One Another