I recently heard Andy Stanley talk about how if we would only get one command from Jesus right, we would absolutely revolutionize our world. That one command is found in John 15:12-17, where Jesus told His disciples to love one another just as He had loved them. This was an urgent command from Jesus, as He was literally running out of time and His betrayal was imminent. If you knew you were about to die, you wouldn’t waste time with small talk. You would tell those closest to you the most important and urgent thing you could think of. This was one of the final commands of Jesus, and thus it carries extraordinary weight.
I know what you’re thinking; we’ve heard this before. Everyone knows the “golden rule”, to treat others as you’d have them treat you. But this is more than that. Jesus said to love each other in the same way He loved us. His love is unconditional. His love is trusting, not suspicious. His love forgives all wrongs. It persists regardless of how often we let Him down. The love of Jesus is color blind, culture blind, age blind, and blind to any outward appearance. Jesus is compelled by love to leave ninety-nine who know Him to passionately pursue the one who doesn’t. He is faithful in the purest sense.
Does that describe how we treat and care for others? World history is marred by slavery, genocide, prejudice and violence. Before you dismiss those ideas as belonging to the past or perhaps to other people, when was the last time you did an audit of your own thoughts? We are captives of our conditioning. Nearly all of us bear a prejudice against something or someone. Most hold one grudge or another. Sadly, if you are like me, violent thoughts have at least flashed through a time or two. At some point we’ve all considered ourselves better than someone else. This is not how Jesus loved people.
What might we have avoided in history if we would have loved everyone unconditionally? Human trafficking would not occur, hunger would be alleviated, sickness would be cared for, and homelessness would be a word without meaning. You could boil everything Jesus taught down into this one command. And yet, we can’t even get this right. What does it say about us that we are unable to obey even this simple command of Christ? It’s not difficult; anyone can do this. There are no special skills or talents required. All that stands in our way is pride and selfishness. Isn’t it time we grew up and stopped playing by the rules of the world and instead clung to the commands of Jesus? We proclaim He is the Lord of our lives. If He is Lord, then we will obey His commands. Why don’t we start with just this one? Love one another, just as Christ has loved you.