“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35
The word of God says some crazy stuff. When I really dwell on these two verses, I think, “Is that even possible?” How could I possibly love someone as Christ has loved me? And to top it all off, this love that we have for each other is how everyone else will know for sure that we are His? So much for simply putting “Christian” beside “religious views.”
I can see that I have grown in this love, but it’s like growing inches when the measuring stick is the light year. When I started this Christian walk, there couldn’t have been anyone more selfish than me. I only looked after myself, I only bought stuff that would make myself happy, and every relationship I had outside of family was simply made up of people who could benefit me. Slowly, little by little, I have had experiences where God has given me opportunities to show His love. To my shame, I haven’t always wanted to do it. In fact, many times I only did it because I honestly believed that He was asking me to.
One door He opened that I walked through is my current job at the alternative school. When I look at these students, I see what Jesus calls “the least of these” in Matthew 25. Many of them are simply unwanted in so many ways. The stories I’ve heard them tell me are absolutely heartbreaking. Many of these students go to school and care nothing about it. The primary adults in their lives didn’t or don’t care about them, so why should these teachers? It is a logical projection. Therefore, they do no schoolwork; it is all “boring.” They misbehave, so teachers have loads of trouble managing an entire class with them present. The easiest thing to do with them is send them over to us at the alternative school.
Now, I’m not knocking our system. I’ve been on both sides of this. I’ve had the kid that I wanted out of my regular classroom, and I’ve had the kid come in that others wanted out. It just is what it is.
Here’s the thing: Most of the time, I feel like I show them God’s love. Other times, especially when I’m exhausted, I know I don’t. Even when I do, I feel too often that it is some sort of a manufactured love. I am praying today that God will place in me an ability to show His love regardless of what I feel like. I feel like only God can give me that pure heart that loves purely.
Here is the other thing: There is another teacher at my school that actually does love them without even having to try; and loves how I believe Christ would have me love them. It is amazing and glorious to watch. It’s like God shows me a picture every single day of what I should do and the way I should be and says, “Go and do likewise.”
One more thing: This teacher makes no claim to be a Christian.
So, here I am, the supposed preacher-teacher, the Christian, the man of God, and I pale in comparison.
May all of us evaluate the love that we have for the people that surround us consistently on a daily basis. Our lives are vapors that appear for a little while and then vanish away. What could possibly be more important than sharing and showing God’s love inside of you? It is, after all, the way that this world will know that we really belong to Him.
Lord, create in me a clean heart. Renew a right spirit in me. Help me to love as you love. Help me to allow others thousands of fresh starts and do overs, just as you have allowed me. When others see the way that I love, may they know that I love you and that your Holy Spirit lives in me. Thank you for strategically placing me exactly where I need to be placed in order to learn how to truly follow you and love as you love.