As followers of Christ, love for others should permeate all we do. Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God, and the second greatest was to love others as ourselves (Mark 12:28-31). He even took it up a notch when He said the greatest demonstration of love was to lay down your life for another (John 15:12-13). Of course, Jesus would go on to model such love in His sacrificial death for our sins.
Love for others is the central tenet of Christianity. It is the linchpin and the differentiator. Self-sacrificial love begins with surrendering ourselves to Jesus and manifests as we pour out our lives in service to others to the glory of God. You cannot love God and treat others poorly or unfairly. If we love God, we will love others in kind.
Our love for others is first commanded in the sixth of the ten commandments (Exodus 20:13). God forbade His people from committing murder. It’s a pretty easy commandment to keep until we remember Jesus said even if we are angry with someone else, we are guilty of breaking this command (Matthew 5:21-24). The key here is forgiveness. Why be angry with another? Why hold a grudge? Our irritation is such a small thing in light of eternity, and wholly insignificant compared to the gospel. If someone offends you, forgive them; if you have offended, make it right.
The seventh commandment forbids us from committing adultery (Exodus 20:14). By remaining faithful to our spouse, we are honoring God’s faithfulness to us. Loving others begins with loving your husband or wife. Show your love by remaining faithful to them no matter what. Remember, Jesus also upped the ante on this command as well. He said if you even lust after someone you are committing adultery with them in your heart (Matthew 5:27-28). It’s a high bar that shows the importance of purity and faithfulness to God.
Like the sixth and seventh commandments, the eighth is also about demonstrating our love for others. By commanding us not to steal (Exodus 20:15), the Lord is establishing the importance of a couple of things. First, be content with what God has blessed and entrusted to you. Second, show respect for others; love them. If you are in need, ask God, who can supply all your needs (Matthew 6:31-33; Philippians 4:19). When we steal, we show we lack the faith to believe God can provide for us.
Our love for others is the hallmark of our faith. We are called to live differently from the world, and living in love will definitely set us apart. In a world consumed with hatred and only looking out for their own interests, the need for love has never been greater. There is a different way to live. Love everyone else as Jesus loves you. We did nothing to qualify for the love of God, so no one should have to qualify to deserve our love for them. If you want to live like Jesus, you must live with a love for others. It’s what God Himself has commanded us to do.